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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  November 17, 2010 1:00pm-4:59pm EST

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>> i consider myself one of nancy pelosi's close friends here in the congress. i think we missed an opportunity today to send a signal to america that we understand what happened this past election. .
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>> i think we needed the deliberation for the leadership to tell us what we could expect and how the rank and file will become a major part of deliberations in the future. we don't have that time now. but i'm very proud in two days,
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two and a half day we put 69 votes together and we were gaining. but that's that and the vote is over. we can't go back and whine about it. so i'm very proud to have worked with folks standing behind me. this was not a question of questioning anybody's leadership. this was a question of deliberating because there's something just as important as voting for people and that is what do they stand for and where are they going to take us. i think you'll see them put the proper pressure on the speaker and i believe she will be elected and the rest of the leadership team. we have to depend on everybody's vote. but the 190 of us and perhaps hopefully more are going to make an impact. we're not going to be dr. no.
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we are going to be very pstive in our approach. i'm very proud of what we did. i certainly didn't run away from health care. i think it's a major step forward. as with social security and medicare, there will be major changes as we go on. some of those made by republican administrations, some by democratic administrations. so we're going to go back inside, the vote will be today on leadership, and we will vote to see who runs and then we'll make a decision on that position. i do not believe there's any opposition to anybody but the speaker is that correct? >> we don't know. >> we don't know yet. >> can you talk about the speeches given and what the message was. >> i would not want to characterize -- ask the people who gave them. >> i thought they were very
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positive. i thought there was no intent to embarrass anybody who was a leader or would be a potential leader. there was no attempt to be vindictive. there was no whining. we politicians have a sense of whining after something doesn't go right and finding a million excuses. well, you're looking at us. wie the excuses. >> you said you think a message was sent, what was the message? >> there's concern among a considerable number of the rank and file about how we got to this point and how we move forward. for my part, again, i won't characterize anybody else's speeches but when you have take then largest losses of any majority in my lifetime, i think a little time for reflection to better understand the reason for those losses, losing across categories where we do not historically lose
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votes, with women, seniors are back and forth, independents. i think we need to better understand that and then i think that we also have to offer a vision to go forward and we're going to have to really push the white house and the senate. i think the greatest failing in this congress was that the house was basically acting as a -- it enabled the white house and the white house was not always right. the idea to concede the three republican senators in the stimulus bill and lose millions of jobs because of that, cutting back on infrastructure funding, cutting back on building schools and education funding, that was a huge mistake. the house shouldn't have gone forward. so i think that we're goinging to revisit our relationship with the white house and with the senate. obviously we're now in the minority.
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so that changes things to begin with. but i think we've got to push them harder from our position to do what democrats need and what's expected by democrats and those independents who would like to support democrats and would like to put the economy back to work and back on a stable path toward fiscal responsibility without killing the programs that are necessary to so many. i think we've got the solution. i think we started a dialogue within the caucus. i expect that dialogue will continue and it will be also expressed to the white house and the senate. >> today's vote was a rebuke of our resolution. the vote was 2-1. i do believe, i do believe, myself, that much came out of it because the debate was -- we really started this debate yesterday in a five-hour-long
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meeting. in fact, it was six hours. i couldn't stand up when it was over. i had to stretch out. a lot of things were said in those six hours by those primarily who will not be joining us in the 112th congress. they fought like crazy. that's why i went bonkers about what they said, these congressmen have to fight for it. what do you think we were doing? this fight began a year ago summertime. i don't know what country he was in, maybe he was on vacation, i don't know, maybe he was giving his press conferences from mars, but we were working very hard. every one of these folks that lost, i watched every one of their campaigns. it wasurtful. get into politics, you have to expect the good and the bad but i think they were painted and the brush was wide. i think -- i'm usually very
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optimistic about the press, i thought the press did a terrible job of representing both sides. i think we were swept up. we were swept up by wide brushes and we were all painted. i'm not a socialist. that sounds like, i'm not a crook. but the point is, i think it was effective. they were more effective than we were. >> let me just say this. >> please, go ahead. >> coming from the state of ohio where the new speaker will be from, i want to point this out. the republicans did not win this election. the democrats lost it because our base stayed home. they stayed home in many states like ohio, michigan, indiana, wisconsin, minnesota, pennsylvania, you can look across our region and think about that. and really dig deep into it. but if we -- i don't think the american people have loyalty as
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in past decades to any party necessarily at this time in our economic history. the only tool they have is their vote. they're trying to wake washington up to address their serious economic concerns. they will press that reset button every single election until we get it right here in washington. i think some of the meetings we had yesterday and today have been construct nive trying to keep a focus on the major concerns of the american people. in the state i represent, we lost half of our delegation of 10 democrats. we will end up with five. the same happened in pennsylvania. but if you really doe gow beneath the numbers, you'll see that people sat home. part of that occurred because of real economic angst that continues around the country. but it also happened because of the amount of money, i was out-spent 4-1 in the race i conducted. that was true all around our state. if you looked at the outside
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independent expenditure groups which one after another came in and used american citizen -- and you as american citizens have to be deeply concerned about what is happening to this republic when one side can't get the message out and the other side has incredible amounts of money and they're undisclosed, this is a huge issue for us. i wanted to put on the record that democrats need to pay attention to what happened. the new speaker is from ohio but i don't think he should take any assurances from this vote. the only certainty he has is if they continue to spend that much money they can really contort this republic and that's not what our founders intended. thank you very much. >> let me just -- first of all, every congressional district is different, every state is different. in the first congressional district of oregon, i think that democratic voters turned out in droves and the challenge in both the governor's race and other races was that independent voters went to the other side and that was our
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problem and i concur with the administration' -- administration's goal to bring this nation together and bring independent voters back. with respect to the particular vote today, all we wanted to do was give the caucus an opportunity to reflect and decide in due course. the caucus has decided that today is the day to decide. it has reflected and i am comfortable with that, as i'm sure my colleagues are also. >> [inaudible]. >> i can only speak for myself. nancy pelosi can do a better job than i. i think she can run a caucus better than i can. >> one of the issues internally, something we need to pay attention about is there will be a major effort to undo citizens united. democrats -- we're going to
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have an opportunity to make a decision whether we should move toward those independent groups that need not disclose or whether we're going to go a different way. don't forget, in that citizens united, money is involved and need not be dis-- foreign money is involved and should not -- need not be disclosed. this is what we should have addressed first of all. that's going to be a major issue two weeks from now, i can assure you. thank you, everybody. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> democratic congressmen, some of them not returning for the next session, wu, defazio,
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pascrell, and marcy kaptur reporting on progress of leadership elections today no final results on democratic house leadership but they did agree to vote by secret ballot on request to delay the vote until next month. that was rejected 129-68. some members wanted to postpone leches until december 8 to have results of mid term leches. democratic leaders for the 112th congress yet to be named. also house republicans set to meet at this hour to choose their leaders, we'll have those results as we get them. now to the senate transportation committee's hearing on pat downs in airports. >> used with aviation authorities on the recent cargo plot. i went to yemen five days after the plot was discovered to
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assess what they were doing. we sent a team of t.s.a. security screening experts and met with their prime minister and minister of transport to say, what are you doing? how can we work with you? to your point, senator hutchison, what are your current protocols, processes, what can we do in terms of capacity building, training tech neengs, tactics, and technology? we've taken specific steps which i'll be glad to get into in response to questions. i can go into considerable detail in my written statement on that plot. we continue to work with our international partners on the number of issues that relate to both passenger and cargo flights and a lot more we can talk about in that regard. i want to update you on my review of t.s.a. surface transportation program priorities because that's a significant issue we are addressing. we continue to work with surface transportation providers, particularly passenger rail and mass
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transit, close vulnerability gaps with a risk-based, intelligence driven process. we want to target grant funds on high-risk critical infrastructure and on operational counterterrorism deterrents. t.s.a. expanded its visible intermodal prevention and response teams and increased the number of surface inspectors and begun a successful mobile screening program with new york city police department and new york city subways. the air cargo plot and the recently disrupted plot against the transit system here in d.c. shows our enemies are possibly evolving through methods and tools and tactics. at t.s.a., we are reshaping our approach to security so everyone recognizes we are one part of the continuum of the national security for the united states. to accomplish this, i have interconnected three priorities for t.s.a., one is to have the t.s.a. focus on intelligence
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and cutting edge technology. second, supporting t.s.a. work force, and third strengthening t.s.a.'s partnerships with stake holders and the traveling public. with that, chairman and ranking member, i'll be blad to take questions. >> mr. pistole, thank you for your testimony. i'd like to ask a couple of questions. one is the issue of background screening for workers around the airport. all of white house travel see a lot of people serving in different ways on the airport grounds and i know that they are screened for background screening, there's a current process for that screening, as i understand it, which involves in large part the private sector and you are preparing to begin to change that. maybe you could describe to us what that change might be, how you're proceeding and why it is necessary? my understanding is the
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information i've received, is that workers pay about a third of the cost of port workers screened by the federal government whereas aviation workers are screened with a private sector system that is working. tell me what you're doing here. >> there's several issues here, senator. you've hit on two key issues in terms of how do we harmonize within the u.s. government. background checks that are done for workers at critical sensitive areas, whether it's ports, airports, whatever it may be that exposes people to risk. so in the aviation sector, obviously, we do thorough background checks on anybody with access to a sterile area at the airport, at cargos and ports there are different processes, protocols, so it's something i'm working closely with commissioner boursin, because we have the most overlap with the u.s. coast guard in terms of how do we
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harmonize this and provide basically one-stop shopping? we're not there yet but i hope to be able to report back some good progress in that area. >> the reason i ask the question is, if it is accurate, as i've been told, that the aviation side costs 1 slush 3 of what the court side costs, if you harmonize, when you get to what we're doing from the mort side and move from the private sector to public sector and triple the cost, that's probably not the right approach. i would like to get an analysis of the efficiency and effectiveness of the aviation side. my understanding is it's worked fairly well. >> right. >> let me ask about the pat down checks. you, i think, propey acknowledged there's reason for people to be concerned and express that concern publicly. you explain precisely why it is necessary for us to have advanced screening and imaging technology and so on. first of all, have you been
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subject to law enforcement style patdown implemented in october? >> absolutely. i insisted i receive that pat down before we -- before i ordered that it be deployed nationwide. also secretary in a poll -- napolitano and other senior members received the pat down to experience what that involved so we would know. >> and your impression? >> it is for roe. >> i understand that. >> but your impression beyond the fact that it's thorough. did it make you uncomfortable? >> yes. it was more invasive than what i was used to. of course in my mind, from almost 27 years with the f.b.i. and all the counterterrorism work since 9/11, what are the plots out there, how are we informed about the latest intelligence and latest technology and what do we need to do to assure the american
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people that we are being thorough? it is clearly more invasive. the purpose is to detect the type of devices we had not seen before, for example, last christmas. i'm very sensitive and concerned about people's privacy concerns and i want to work through that as best we can. the bottom line is we need to provide for the best possible security. my understanding is that the october change went from using the back of a hand, gliding across a person to a different approach, you might describe that, number one -- well, go ahead and describe that >> back of the hand is still used in some aspects. i would prefer not to go into specif detail in an open hearing simply because i don't want to give a road map to anybody to say, here's exactly what the technique is and so how can we defeat that? we've seen the ingenuity of al
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qaeda and others with these last three attempts so i'd be glad to go into detail and any member who has not experienced that pat down who would like to do that, i would not offer but an experienced, qualified security officer would be glad to do that. then the issue of full body imaging, most of us have seen whether it's in "newsweek" magazine or "time" magazine or the internet, the bull ful body imaging is very explicit, you would agree with that? and then the question is, what kind of protection have you develop sod that someone who has had a reasonably explicit photograph taken through the full body imaging, it's not going to be moved around, there's a privacy relationship they can count on? >> we've instituted and implemented, i should say, a number of privacy protocols to ensure that those type of
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things you describe do not happen. so for one, the security officer who is viewing the image, again, not a photograph, it's an image, even with the face blurred and what i've seen on news reports is not accurate. some of these very graphic displays are not what the security officer is seeing. >> photo shopped them a little bit? >> i'm not sure what where they're getting them, there's a little more detail, quite a bit more, actually, the officer sees an image, the one who sees a person never sees an image and the functions are disabled on the machines in terms of retention, storage or ability to transmit images. so the -- of course cell phones, cameras, anything like that are not allowed in the screening room. we believe we've implemented adequate privacy protections if you will. that being said, i'm also very interested in the next generation of advanced imaging
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technology which is -- basically has a stick figure, you will, where, through automatic algorithms that an anomaly would show up as a box, on the body, in the groin, armpit, then the pat down would focus on that area. that's the next generation. the only concern i have about that, there's a high rate of false positives on that technology. we are currently testing that today, we have been for several months, it's being used in the at the airport in amsterdam. with a high rate of false positives, it results in more pat downs. >> mr. pistole, i will send you more questions. senator hutchison? >> thank you very much. i think i'm first of all going to say to senator isakson i think we should have a classified hearing so we'll work with scheduling on that.
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we'll talk to senator rockefeller, i believe he'll agree. i want to talk about cargo. i'd like to ask you, first, is it feasible for all cargo operations, cargo plane that does not have passengers, to be screened in the same -- with the same specificity as our passenger processes? and secondly do, we have the -- do we have practical solutions? what i'm getting at is, there are now imaging machines that are used on the border for trucks, for going across the border. are those technologically feasible to be used for air cargo and is it also an affordable option that would be a common sense option? >> in response to your first
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question, it is not practical at this point to screen 100% of air cargo worldwide if that's the question. we do screen, of course, 100% of all air cargo on passenger flights in the u.s. as of august based on the 9/11 act and we screen what we describe as 100% of high-risk cargo coming into the u.s. on passenger flights. that being said, there is still a lot of cargo out there, almost nine billion pounds of cargo coming into the u.s. every year, about 2/3 on cargo flights, 1/3 on passenger flights. the challenge becomes the -- those packages coming not from known shippers, the large companies, that either government and/or the actual cargo companies have a relationship with. so for example, the two packages coming out of yemen, an individual goes to a freight forwarder and then sends it to dubai, but then that's where
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the u.s. cargo carrier picks it up. the challenge is, in that supply chain, can we assure with 100% confidence that packages have been properly screened and frankly, we can't do that right now system of what we're doing is working with the international civil aviation organization which passed a security declaration last month at their triennial meeting, 190 countries signed off on this security declaration, mostly focused on passenger, but some on cargo. we're working with the air transit authority which deals with over 230 airlines around the world and everybody has the same interest to make sure their -- the businesses -- that their flights are safe and secure. it's how do we best accomplish that? they're working on capacity development issues with some of the countries that perhaps don't have the same screening capabilities we have in the
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u.s. that's part of our challenge. >> are you working on more of your personnel being stationed in areas where there would be a priority? >> yes, we are senator. we have other 100 t.s.a. employees deployed around the world to act as inspectors if you will to work with host governments and aviation authorities for that very purpose. also on your first -- the second part of your first question, we do have small, medium, large apture -- aperture x-rays to look at cargo, it's just more of a challenge than with passengers. the largest the pal let or skids, and the more compact, the more difficult to discern it. we also in the u.s. use explosive trace technology detecting equipment, but that's
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not a consistent standard around the world. >> let me talk a little bit about the collective bargaining issue and when i was talking about strikes, the reality is, if you have collective bargaining, it may not be the open strike but it is the slowdown, the sickouts that sort of thing which is a virtual strike. and my question is, where you in this process and are you -- is it something that you're looking at seriously? have you decided that other priorities are more important? >> one of the priorities in the confirmation process was to deal with the issue as i was asked to do an independent assessment of whether collective bargaining made sense for the t.s.a. work force. my one caveat i laid out at that hearing as you are recall, what i've stuck to, is whatever the issues are, there cannot be
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an adverse impact on security. i conducted an internal assessment, i've done a review, i'm close to enacting a decision on that. i will say that has been complicated a little bit by a decision last friday by the slra whiched or ird t.s.a. to hold a -- an election for exclusive union representation but not collective bargaining. so somewhat of a confusing opinion, frankly, so our experts are going back and working with other human capil experts and the flra, their counsel, to find out, what does that mean? how can we inform the work force? i'm hoping within the next 30 days to make an announcement about where we should be going in that regard. >> so the federal labor relations board is arguing -- ordering t.s.a. to have an election? >> yes, the decision says we
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should have an election for exclusive bargaining but not for purposes of collective bargaining, just for purposes of representation which again is -- frankly doesn't make a lot of sense. we're working through that and i'm confident we'll have a good way forward. >> i'm glad you think it doesn't make a lot of sense. thank you very much. >> senator, thank you very much. senator lutenberg? >> thanks, mr. chairman. the department of homeland security requires manifest information to be provided 24 hours prior to loading all maritime cargo entering our port bus the cargo entering by air, the manifests only have to be provided four hours prior to arrival of the material to the
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airport. it could be too late to stop something happening before it enters our air space. would it be feasible to ask that a longer amount -- a longer time be allowed to -- before the cargo gets aboard an airplane and this is challenging and look, the primary thing we're concerned about, obviously, is the security. but what might it do to the efficiency of congress around the world if -- of commerce around the world if you say, you're goingity biair because you want a quick arrival. on the other hand, what happens if we say, ok, well, give us 24-hour notice? have we looked at that part of the question? >> yes, senator lautenberg, we have, we have worked closely
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with c.v.p. and commissioner boursin about how can we work with industry to get more advanced notification without unduly affecting the bottom line for the cargo carriers. they have been -- the cargo carriers have been open and receptive to looking for opportunities, but the bottom line is the more advanced notification that goes to c.v.p., we -- the better informed we can be as to -- and the key is, what action do we take so if there's a high risk package identified coming from some place in the world what action can we take with that eight hour, 24 hours, can we communicate with that freight forwarder to say, ok, we're concerned about that package, don't put it on the plane. that's the key. >> as we saw in the recent
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cargo bombing threat, information sharing is key to foiling this plot, but both the g.a.o. and national security council recently released reports finding that t.s.a. needs to improve and expand its communication with passenger rail and mass transit agencies. what actions has t.s.a. take ton meet the recommendations of g.a.o. and the national security agency? >> there are a number of issues that we are directing in the whole surface transportation arena and as you so well articulated the threats we've seen from madrid, mumbai, moscow and the attempts last year in new york city and the one just last month that my colleagues on the joint terrific task force so well disrupted here in d.c., the key is how do we best engage state and locals who have that first response and first prevention
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responsibility and it's really three ways, one is through the grants we can allocate, one is through training, whether that means training for, for example, diadecisional vipir teams and canines or the additional hiring of officers arks we did with new york city where they hired 120-plus officer the only officers they were able to hire last -- hire last year, specifically for the new york city subway with over 450 subway stops. those are the type of things we're doing. >> the department recently completed an assessment of the nation's passenger rail and mass transit system found a significant security risk and yet surface transportation security has traditionally made up a very small percentage of t.s.a.'s overall budget. agencies are reviewing their budget needs for the fiscal
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year 2012 budget. will the budget request for t.s.a. reflect a more sensitivity to the need for real and -- rail and transit security? >> absolutely. >> i hope so because when we look at the number of people traveling by rail and see how inviting a target it was in other places in the world, we can't continue to neglect -- neglect is a strong word. to not focus more attention on security. >> agree, senator. the only other commentn that, of course the t.s.a. budget in terms of surfaceoes not reflect the large multiples of that in terms of transportation security grant money so there's actually more that shows up because it goes through fema, doesn't show up in the t.s.a. budget. but you're right. >> thank you. >> senator? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. director, under what
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circumstances would a passenger be subjected to both advanced imaging and then the law enforcement style pat down? >> the advanced imaging technology is an option, people can opt out of that. what we've seen -- and just for context, we deployed the first a.i.t. in 2007, this is not something that happened overnight. >> i'm not -- let's say the passenger goes through advanced imaging, doesn't object to it, says fine, does that. under what circumstances would you then subject that passenger to the second pat down? >> the person in the advanced imaging technology or the walk-through metal detector alarms if an alarm goes off, alerts, there's something that needs to be addressed, they may get an opportunity to go through it a second time if it still alarms, then there's when
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they would be subject to a pat down. >> if a passenger were subjected to both, no alarm went off, no suspicion, would that be arbitrary on the part of your people? to d a pat down? >> yes, it would be a very rare instance for somebody to have a pat down if there wasn't some type of alarm. >> i'm wondering why i got both? a few weeks ago. i did use my senate i.d. and was subjected to both. i didn't object to going through the advanced imaging, some do. some don't. how would you answer that question? >> senator, i'd have to look into that. if you went through the imaging technology and there were no alarms, in almost all instances you would not be subject to a
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pat down. there's a very, very small percentage that is done as random that is, so we can be unpredictable to terrorists, even if they think everything is such -- but that's such a very, very small number i'd be surprised. i'll look into it and get back to you. >> i have often wondered as this has developed other time, at what point there's a tipping point with the american public. you know, take off your belt, take off your coat, take off your shoes, take out your liquids, on and on. now advanced imaging and as you actnology -- acknowledge, very intrusive patdown if you these choos not to do that, does it worry you that maybe we're at a point where this is not a vocal minority? that people just think you've overstepped? >> i am sensitive to that, senator. i know the threats are real so what comes -- what it comes down to is what howe do we
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balance? what i believe is reasonable people can kiss agree as to the balance between privacy and security. so we all agree that everybody wants to be secure on the flight, where we don't necessarily agree is what is the proper balance between that security and privacy system of yes, i'm concerned about that and i want to make sure we can address the privacy issues by affording people private screening at their request, to do all those things that address those concerns, again, giving the highest level of confidence that everybody on every flight has been screened in a way that they feel comfortable that everybody else on that flight is safe. >> let's examine that a little bit. because as i think about cargo in the belly of the airplane, passenger plane, if you are to follow the same approach, what you would do is send it through advanced imaging of some kind for packages. if you saw something suspicious or an alarm went off in that package, you would open up the
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package and you would examine that. do we do that today? >> with cargo? >> yes. >> yes. >> so we use either x-ray, advanced technology. >> x-ray, explosive trace detection, physical inspection of packages, we do all of those on car ge. we do about half, then there's 1,140 certified cargo security partners around the couldn't arery, private businesses that do that off airport grounds so we don't have a bottleneck at the airport and they then deliver that cargo in a secure fashion to the airport for delivery. >> every package? >> that gos by passenger plane in the u.s. >> ok. what's your next step on this? i must admit, i get the impression that you're expressing your understanding, i'm thinking nothing is going to change. >> well, if your question is, do i understand the sensitives of people, yes. if you're asking am i going to change the policies?
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no. i think that's what is being informed by the latest intelligence, the latest efforts by terrorists to kill our people in the air, no i'm not going to change those policies. >> so for all those listening in, it's still going to be the same, it will be the intrusive pat down and it will be the -- or the advanced imaging, or both. >> people have the option to opt out of i.a.t., they would receive a thorough pat down. >> would you yield on that point? i think mr. pistole testified that thet the increase or advanced technology will, he hopes, lead home to a point where the advanced imaging will give stick figures rather than a full body. >> that's the next generation weir looking at, we're not there yet. >> how far away is that? >> i would like to say months, but again, it's all
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technology-driven, there's a huge incentive, as uh you can imagine, for private businesses to get this as fast as they can perfect. of course nothing is perfect in that regard. so there's a huge incentive for them to do that, there's a number of companiesompeting to do that. we are working closely, you go out to reagan airport, south of the airport, there's a transportation security integration facility where we test our equipment before we deploy it. i invite you to come out and see what we're doing with the advanced target recognition software. the nice thing about that is, from a budgetary standpoint and practicality, it's a software modification to the existing hardware so we don't go out and buy all new hardware and things that can be used in the software modication. i guess to answer your question more fully, i see us in an interim period here right now where we're using the best techniques and -- techniques and tactics given the intelligence, enabled by the
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best technology, my hope is that the technology will improve, perhaps someday, not only do we have the stick figures, people can walk through, take lick wades through, keep shoes on, don't have to take their computers out of their briefcases and things like that, that's all things i would like to build to recognizing the creativity of the terrorists we've seen with toner cartridges and knowing if they can put them there, put the explosives there, they can put it in a lot of other places. >> thank y, mr. chairman. >> senator isakson. >> following up on -- isaacson. >> following up on senator johanns' comments, this is a recognition picture with ch addresses the privacy issue in its entirety. what you're saying is the square, the red outlined area which is an area of concern which would be subject to a pat down, but you're getting a
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number of false positives on that right now? >> correct. >> but if that is worked out, then people would be going through these screens without worrying about privacy, whether they're a child or adult, you see a stick figure. >> right. >> and they wouldn't be subject to a patdown unless there was an area of recognition by the machine? >> if the algorithm shows and that box shows, it will show up on that part of the body where there's an anomaly that part of the body would be subject to the patdown whether it's the bottom they have foot, the armpit, the groin, the small of the back, whatever it may be. >> looks like technology can be a solution to the privacy issue. >> i'm very hopeful in that regard. >> technology is not a solution to one issue, good communication with the public which i think t.s.a. and the department of homeland security need to pay attention to because some of the outrage has been in response to some of the
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comments made. i want to ask unanimous consent to submifor the record a three-page statement by ms. pam rah robinson of atlanta, georgia. >> without objection. >> she's a businesswoman, a diamond travelers, this outline house secretary napolitano's statement that if you don't like it, there are other ways to travel. there's no other alternative to get to san francisco other than 2 1/2 days by rail or three days by car from atlanta, georgia. air travel is essential. and sensitivity by a rational person like ms. robinson needs to be looked at to understand what senator johanns and other senators and i are deal wong a daily basis because the traveling public is significantly upset. the 9/11 commission in 2007 asked t.s.a. to develop a
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system of crew pass for flight crews so they could go through security in a safe and secure manner. it's my understanding that in columbia, south carolina, and pittsburgh, pennsylvania, you have two -- had two areas where you've been testing that for two years. >> and b.w.i. >> and b.w.i. what's take son long to implement that? >> that's one question i asked when i first came on as administrator in july and i think we have made good progress especially recently to the point where i am hoping to be able to announce something here in the near future as to some significant improvements in that regard using crew pass. >> i flew three times mont getting from atlanta to savannah to charlotte to washington and rode by crew members, both of whom the first thing they raised was the crew
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pass issue which is important to them. i think anything you can do to expedite that process would be appreciated. >> i think we have a good way forward, senator. >> my last question and/or comment is this, other than the patdown, the biggest amount of feedback i get are young children, particularly if they're subjected to a patdown but if they go through the machine, x-ray machine, one is the sensitivity of privacy, the other is the sensitivity of the amount of radiation they're exposed to. has t.s.a. done sufficient testing in your judgment to ensure that that exposure to that radiation over time is not a problem? >> first, senator, one thing that we did not -- i did not do a good job of communicating is children 12 and under are exempted from the enhanced patdown, so that's one issue because of concerns about dealing with children. as far as the radiation
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exposure, i again defer to what those independent studies did looking at all types of populations including children, pregnant women, elderly, things like that, which found that the exposure is well within the safety standards. >> thank you, mr. administrator. thanks for the job you do. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you very much. following up on senator isaacson's line of questions -- sy sackson's line of questioning -- senator isakson's line of questioning, i mentioned that i think this is a good option, as senator isakson stated to improve the technology. how many airports are they in? what's the maximum amount we plan to put in airports? >> we have approximately 385 of the advanced imaging machines deployed in approximately 70 airports right now. what we have been authorized
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and funded for is around 490 by the end of the year, so another 100 or so by the end of the year and then another 500 to get us up to 1,000 by the end of next year. that's what we're building toward. >> and there is a plan to have them in i assume the major airports are already in there but will you get to fargo, for instance that airport? >> yes, that will be done on -- airport by airport basis. it will be risk-based, intelligence driven, number factors and the ability for the airport to physically install in the space and things like that. >> under the patdown, could you describe the decision making process that went into strengthening the patdown method without revealing things you can't receil veal? >> in a general way, when i came on as administrator in july, i looked at what we were doing to addresshe threat posed by the 1225 -- the 12/25
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underwear bomber and was informed by several g.a.o. reports, inspector genre ports of d.h.a. sand -- d.h.s. and our own department of inspection, and without going into too much detail, one thing they found as a common denominator was when they were able to get through the covert testing was able to get through security it was largely because we were not being thorough enough in our patdowns. so the intelligence coupled with the repeated covert testing led me to conclude that we needed to be more thorough, to be more consistent with partners around the world, recognizing that we are an interdependent system as we saw on 12/25. if he'd been detected overseas and never made it here that would have helped. those issues, i'd be glad to
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give more detail in a closed session. >> do you believe these changes will be permanent now? is it something you adjust when you see new -- >> we're always trying to evolve our techniques and technology as inform by intelligence and always aware that we don't want to just focus on yesterday's threat. so what we are working very closely with the intel law enforcement communities is what do we see as tomorrow's threat and how can that inform our judgments and actions today in terms of what tecology we need? that's all part of the process. >> and then the -- i want to talk to you about the crew issue, i know you're working on that, in terms of education, what do you think could be done especially with the holidays coming up? >> i would make an appeal to the american people to go to the t.s.a. website to see what the latest practices, protocols, procedures are and to be the best informed travelers possible, especially where we're talking about
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perhaps once a year travelers, those going home just for the holidays, the better informed, the better partnership we can have to provide the best possible security. >> then just quick questions about the screening, do you feel that 2013 is a reasonable deadline for the 100% screening? and what -- could you talk about the present alternative right now, the risk-based approach? >> talking about -- >> talking about cargo. >> international air cargo to the united states. we divide it into two categories, known shippers and trusted shippers, and the known supply chain, and those who are unknown such as individual packages and things. we have a close relationship with the major cargo shippers and they are working very osely with us to identify high risk packages and -- because again, it's in their best interest not to have high-risk packages on their
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flight 2067813 is a challenge, but that's what we're working toward to ensure we can do that. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. senator mccaskill. >> i'd like to talk about cargo and the capability of airports around the world to screen appropriately. what is the plan for high-risk cargo inspection for countries that don't have screening capabilities? unfortunately, the people who want to harm our country are not operating under a flag or sovereign nation, they are everywhere in the world and they move continually which is why we have to have the investment in intelligence. it seems like to me they're going to try to begin to pinpoint the countries that have no capability of screening other than visual and so what is the plan on how we deal with
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those, and there's a number of those countries, i understand, is that correct? >> there are some. when i was in yemen two weeks ago to look at what they were doing in terms of cargo screening, i found that they used x-ray machine pretty much exclusively, it's not a modern, advanced technology, x-ray machine sees two dimensional, no explosive trace detech, limited physical inspection, no ka -- no canines. what i see as the best way forward is what we do here in the u.s. in terms of using the private sector to work in terms of a trusted screening facility so certified cargo screening program we have here with 1,140 or so private companies doing over 50% of the screening of cargo going on u.s. passenger flights. i think that is one of the models. we're working with two organizations in terms of capacity development for those very countries you allude to
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that don't have the ability right now to do that type of screening. for example, in yemen, the team we sent there to work with them to train, equip, in terms of practices and protocols, we also took explosive trace detection equipment and left with them in terms of building capacity to do those very things you described. >> i loath the notion we have to buy screening equipment for other cubtries but i'm very worried about the preponderance of countries out there not taking this seriously and have not made this a priority. that is the weakest link. >> i agree, senator. i think what we'll see from a sprivet sector business risk model is that they may likely not pick up packages they assess as being high risk from certain areas of the world that will be the fallout, i think, from this, that's an extreme
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measure of risk management but it's effective. i think that may be what we see. >> what about the other car gow measures? we have spent an awful lot of time in this hearing talking about air. but what are the security measures we're increasing in other cargo venues, particularly maritime, where when you have remote ability to detonate, the damage that could be done, frankly, rail, maritime, any of that, what -- can you give the committee some reassurances that we're making progress on those fronts? >> i can reassure the committee we're making some progress. i want to manage expectations that there are clearly still some gaps and vulnerabilities and customs border protection has the lead in terms of maritime and 24-hour notification. t.s.a. has a role but it's
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frankly a somewhat limited role, secondary or tertiary to the c.v.p. or coast guard. >> this might be one we'd want to talk to the secretary about. i know -- it's got to be frustrating because you move one direction to try to really address any gaps we have and then another one opens up, you move there then you've taken your eye off the first one but i do think we've got to be sophisticated about the weakest links we have in this and clearly i think cargo, nonair cargo may in fact be along with those countries that aren't screening two places we need to be all hands on deck. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank youing senator. senator lemieux. >> thank you, mr. chairman. administrator, good to be with you again. i want to talk to you about the subject, i know all my colleagues have spoken to you about the patdown and what americans are dealing with at airports across the country.
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you and i spoke before you were confirmed about maybe relying more on behavioral evaluation, doing more of what other countries like israel do. i'm, frankly, bothered by the level of these patdowns. i've seen them firsthand in airports in florida. i wouldn't want my wife to be touched in the way folks are being touched. i wouldn't want to be touched that way. i think that we have to be focused on safety but there's a balance. and now you're going forward with more of these advanced imaging technology machines, this i think -- which i think are fine, appropriate, though they're invasive, there's not a physical touching to them and you're doing -- you have procedures in place to keep that person who is looking at the imaging in another room, there's some protections there, but i also understand that you would like to do everything possible to keep the american people safe but there are limits. there has to be a balance here. what can we do to right this balance? i think we've gone too far
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afield? >> senator, i think there are a number of issues here. one is that people who would are receive the patdown almost exclusively would be as a result of some alarm either through the walk-through metal detector or the advanced imaging technology. a very, very maul number of people would receive a patdown as random or something not as a result of an alarm. that's first. the second is, being informed by the intelligence that we've talked about, the g.a.o., the i.g., inspection, covert testing, which we can talk about in a class-like setting, we know there are additional things we could be doing to detect things and we know based on patdowns and a.i.p., we have detected dozens and dozens of let's say artfully concealed objects that could pose a risk to aviation. so for me, it comes down to that balance, as you say, and
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the fact that everybody wants to be secure on that flight knowing that you've been screened, i've been screened, everybody has been screened properly and we have a high level of confidence and yet we want to ensure the best possible privacy. how can we do that? i think we do it with a.i.t. and if we move to the one with the stick figure, that will go a long way. i think reasonable people can disagree as to what the proper balance is and if we have those two flights that i mentioned earlier, one you have the option of being screened and you know everybody else has been, another flight that there's no screening, you just do things like, i think, almost everybody will get on that flight has been properly screened. my job is just to try to find the balance, i recognize the invasiveness of it, i also recognize that the threat is real, the stakes are high and we must prevail. a.
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>> we are trying to be risk based driven organization, children 12 and under will not be subject to these patdowns. we are working with pilots on those issues in terms of they are in charge of the aircraft why do they go through the same type? and trying to be as best informed about each individual traveler similar to the israeli model. we are using behavior detection extensively. we are picking up some good finds there. the bottom line is how to do that without profiling as you say, and there's a dynamic tension there between the safety security and privacy? how do we resolve that dynamic tension? and while ensuring the bottom line is that flight is secure?
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>> i appreciate your comments and good work. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator demint. >> thank you, mr. pistol. i appreciate the professionalism you are showing here today. frankly i have heard most of the questions i wanted to ask. one of the things that senator lemieux was hinting at is this idea we are going to continue to evolve this and use common sense and particularly i want to make sure that we are not overly concerned with being so politically correct that we would ignore high-risk targets as you mentioned the israeli model. we particularly appreciate you looking at ways to transition this technology that allows you to see things you need to see and things you don't. and to something that's more animated. i think that would give people a lot of comfort. and then looking at the rational age. i think americans know -- that
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we are not just setting up rules. my concern is most of our -- what the government tends to do is your job to keep people safe, not to keep them comfortable, and that can just -- that can get out of control over time. and we need to make sure that travel by air and other ways continues to be a good experience. you seem to be trying to draw the best balance there and that's very important and involving the technology as well as the personnel in the behavioral aspect of this is a pretty good package. i think if you can keep us up-to-date on what you're doing, not just on hearings but periodically a memo or something in ways like you have asked today that americans partner with t.s.a., stay more informed because if they haven't traveled in a year and they run into this, it's a pretty stunning thing. we are getting hundreds of calls
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. so they want us to be on top of this. so it apparently you are doing what you can to try to modify this in a way that seems reasonable to people and to keep them safe. you've got a very tough job. i mostly just want to thank you for what you're doing. >> thank you. appreciate that. >> mr. pistol, one final question, thank you very much, senator demint. we have had four events really that have been defining events since we began much more intense screening after 9/11. one dealt with shoes, one dealt with underwear, one dealt with liquids, one dealt with cartridge toners. each event reflects an offense by someone trying to commit in this case murder. they want to get a bomb on an airplane. then you are involved in defense. we are involved in defense. i guess the question i would ask you, we have ramped up the defense a lot. that's what this discussion is
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all about today. tell me about the threat level, it appears to me the threat level continues to increase. you increase our defensive capabilities. where are we relative to where we were a few years ago? is the offense ahead of the defense? the defense is way out there ahead of the offense? what's your sense? >> yes, senator. i think the tempo of al qaeda and its affiliates have increased as you have indicated. there are other groups around the world that are also trt, in europe you may have seen germans increase their level of security this morning in response to the current threat stream we need to go into closed session about. the way i look at this construct for t.s.a. and homeland security is that we are on a continuum for national security mission in the united states. at the one end we have the offensive actions of the military, weather in the tribal area, afghanistan, pakistan,
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working with other countries, wherever it may be, and hopefully there is some intelligence because of somebody is detained on the battlefield say there is current plotting against the u.s. that may not work. so we look at those other agencies, c.i.a. and n.s.a. for humint and those things that will inform us about plots that may be taking place here in the u.s. that may not happen. so my former colleagues, the f.b.i. and task forces, hopefully they or the 750 to 800,000 state and local police officers, sheriff's deputies, will be informed because they see something, say something. there is a threat. somebody sees something that's out of whack. that may not be the case. so when it comes down to t.s.a., you are right. we are on the last line of defense for the u.s. government. whether it is a behavior detection officer, whether an explosive specialist doing swabbing of hands, whether it's a security officer through the a.i.t. or the pat down. if somebody such -- gets through
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all that and able to get on the plane, we are down to the federal air marshalls, part of the t.s.a., to be that last line of defense. there may be armed pilots onboard, obviously concerned crew and passengers. for the u.s. government it comes down to that construct. >> what i was trying to ask is the passenger that's taking a flight in this country today, they know just by reading the newspapers and seeing the actions you are taking, they know the threats have increased. but also your activities have increased to respond to the threats. should they feel there is slightly less risk? the same risk? or more risk? >> hopefully they would see the actions we are taking as a deterrence to any terrorist. so somebody who is planning an attack on a nation particularly would see these actions as a way of moving them, unfortunately, to a softer targe we have done so much to harden the tarring he of aviation --
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targets of aviation and yet they have done all these type of attacks. so i hope it's a deterrence. that's the bottom line. >> senator hutchison. >> i do have one more. this rather high-profile person, mr. tyner, who left the san diego airport after refusing to undertake the full body scan, now it's being reported that he is being investigated and that he may face up to a $10,000 fine. is that the procedure? aryou investigating him? >> two parts to that. i have learned that t.s.a. has the administrative authority to fine people who try to smuggle items on planes and that's where prohibitive items, things like that, and that has been fairly common several thousand times where that's happened. i am not aware of any instance where somebody who refused
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screening has been fined. it is being reviewed. i would not -- i don't want to prejudge anything but i do not anticipate anything come interesting that other than working with the public saying, look, this is for your safety, security. work with us. this is a partnership here. >> well, i agree with you that it should be considered a partnership and in general i have found and mostly i hear that the t.s.a. employees are very aware of the privacy issues. they are sympathetic. and are handling it very well. but is it the policy of the agency not to fine someone who decides they do not want to be screened and therefore they leave? >> the policy is silent as to that issue. so it comes up for a decision. when that -- all the facts are made, when i'm briefed on the facts and make a decision on that. >> well, i would hope that we
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wouldn't go overboard if someone decides that they have the right to their privacy and therefore they walk out without injury to anyone. i can't see that that would be a fine -- >> and again try not to preview too much because i want to make sure i have the facts. i agree completely with you on that, senator. it's something that, again, the fines historically have been for people who tried to smuggle items onboard. that's not the situation. >> thank you very much. >> mr. pistole, thank you very much for dwrur testimony -- for your testimony. thanks for the work you do and your agency does. i want to mention we will talk to the chairman and i expect he would agree and want to have a classified briefing by you and the agency in the near future. this hearing's adjourned. >> thank you, senator. [captioning performed by
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national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
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>> a live look here outside the house democrat caucus meeting. members will soon decide on leadership for the 112th congress today. earlier a motion to delay these elections until december 8 was defeated. we do expect an announcement at some point and we'll have that live for you here on c-span. republicans are also meeting today to determine their leadership. they have postponed any official announcement until tomorrow. since the landmark supreme court cases saturday on c-span radio. >> in texas women still are not able to receive abortions from licensed doctors because doctors still fear that they will be prosecuted under the statute.
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>> this week, part 2 of row v. wade, argued in 1972 and still considered one of the court's most controversial decisions. listen to the argument at 6:00 eastern on c-span radio in washington d.c. on 90.1 f.m. and online at c-spanradio.org. the c-span networks, american history and books, it's available to you on television, radio, online, and on social media networking sites and find our content any time through c-span video lie brarery. we take c-span on the road with our vidgetal local content vehicle. bringing resources to your community. it's washington your way. the c-span network. now available in more than 100 million homes. created by cable provided as a public service. senate minority whipe jon kyl
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says he will continue to oppose the nuclear treaty with russia until the obama administration provides a larger budget for modernizing the u.s. nuclear arsenal. this morning secretary of state clinton and senators john kerry and richard lugar, the democrat and republican on the senate foreign relations committee, spoke with reporters. the treaty passed the committee by a vote of 14-4 in september. but the full senate has not acted on it. about 15 minutes. >> chairman and ranking members of the senate foreign relations committee for hosting a breakfast this morning with leadership from both the house and the senate on some of the most critical national security issues facing our country. in particular i want to thank both senator kerry and senator lugar for their outstanding leadership on the new start treaty. with their stewardship, this treaty is ready to be voted on by the united states senate. they have held a dozen hearings, other committees have held an
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additional half dozen. they crafted a resolution of ratification incorporating input from senators on both sides of the aisle. and they were ultimately able to usher the treaty through the senate foreign relations committee on a strong bipartisan vote of 14-4. recently some have suggested we should hit the paws button. it's too difficult to do this treaty in a lame duck session. i strongly disagree. this is exactly what the american people expect us to do. to come together and do what is necessary to protect our country. we can and we must go forward now on a new start treaty during the lame duck session. we have an opportunity to ratify this treaty and to lock in consensus on modernization funding. and perhaps most importantly and
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i want to stress this because i'm not sure that everybody really understands that when the prior treaty expires, we lost the ability to have inspectors on the ground. we need to get our inspectors back into russia after a gap of nearly a year. as our intelligence have repeatedly noted, we are much better off with a new start than without it. the director of national intelligence said yesterday the earlier, the sooner the better. we need the stability, transparency, and predictibility the new start will provide by giving us insight into russia's strategic nuclear arsenal. that is a rationale that previous presidents and congresses of both the republican and the democratic parties have repeatedly and
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overwhelmingly supported. this is also a treaty that is criticalle to our bilateral relationship with russia. we have enhanced our cooperation for the been fit of our country on -- for the been fit of our country on iran, counterterrorism, and counternarcotics. that's why our entire military leadership as well as six former secretaries of state, five former secretaries of defense, three former national security advisors, and seven former commanders of u.s. strategic command support this treaty and support it now. we look forward to the senate quickly completing its advise and consent process. and i want to stress how the american people want to see republicans and democrats working together on behalf of
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national security. that's why in 1991 under a republican president the senate approved the start treaty by a vote of 93-6. that's why in 2002 under a republican president the senate approved the moscow treaty which included no verification measures by 95-0. i had the privilege of voting for that treaty. this treaty deserves the se overwhelming bipartisan support. >> thank you very much, secretary clinton, for joining us today. we had a very broad discussion on both the national security challenges to our country today from afghanistan, pack stage, to iraq, the middle east, and -- pakistan, to iraq, to the middle
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east, and secretary was wonderful in her engagement to the house and senate leadership. but this issue of the start treaty is really at the top of a list and top of the discussion. our country is strongest and we protect it best when we come together in a bipartisan way or in a nonpartisan way. historically we have made our greatest advances in terms of national security when we leave politics at the water's edge. that's how we got a 95-0 vote on the moscow treaty which had no verification at all as the secretary just said. people who are today in the senate on the other side of the aisle voted for that moscow treaty. here we have a treaty that for
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the first time provides additional ability to count warheads on both sides. here we have a treaty that allows us to have a spot random inspection to find out what the other side is doing. but for one year now we have had no inspections, no american boots on the ground in russia able to protect american interests. and we will not have them on the ground protecting american interests until this treaty is ratified. we are in two conflicts, two wars right now. we face the threat of terror every single day. we face the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons . this treaty is the best way to reduce and address threats to our country. and we need to proceed forward to address it now. now, we have reached out for
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months. i made a decision as the chairman to delay asking for a vote on this at the request of the number of members on the other side of the aisle so we could give people more time to evaluate this treaty. we have done that. as of today i know that the last questions that were posed by some senators have been answered. and those questions up here on the hill are available for analysis. the american people have just expressed their will in a very divisive, difficult election year. they asked the united states congress to do its business. they asked the congress to get rid of the politics. they asked us to protect american interests. and it is this congress that has done the work on this treaty. it is these senators elected here and now who have a constitutional responsibility now to deal with this treaty.
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it is this congress that has done its homework, analyzed the treaty, gone to the hearings, these are the senators who have the responsibility to vote. as the president and secretary state, vice president who is deeply engaged in this, are asking the united states senate to do its job. let me just say i talked yesterday with a number of senators on the other side of the aisle, and we discussed the outstanding issues. as of now there is no substantive disagreement on this treaty. what separates apparently the sense of the ability to move forward is a question about money out 10 years in the future for modernization. as of now the president has put $80 billion on the table for modernization and an additional $4.1 million to meet the request of senator kyl.
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so senator inouye, the chairman of the appropriations committee, the president of the united states, and secretary of state have all said we are committed to the modernization. as the second year the house of representatives will be run by the republicans. and we would hope that our republican leader in the senate could get an agreement from a republican in the house as to what is going to go forward with respect to that? we stand ready to negotiate. we have two weeks we are going to be out of here for the thanksgiving break. we stand ready to work on any day during that period of time. we have at least two weeks before this might come before the senate. i refuse to believe that the door shouldn't remain open that we can't find a good faith to negotiate on behalf of our country in order to deal with modernization funding and in order to resolve any outstanding questions. the national security of our country demands nothing less
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than that effort. we are committed to providing it. and -- one could have no greater partner than vice president biden, i have shared it for 25 years with senator lugar. there is no stronger or powerful voice for common sense with respect to proliferation and counterproliferation efforts than senator lugar. we appreciate his leadership on this enormously. senator. >> thank you. let me simply summarize, we are talking today about the national security of the united states of america. it's not a subject of debate among the senators at this point. it is the voice of the american people that has to inform senators this treaty must be ratified and must be ratified in this session of the congress. why? because senator kerry has pointed out, since december 5,
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last december 5, we have had no boots on the ground to inform us of what in fact is a crime with regard to the nuclear weapons of russia. this is very serious. in my office we have a scorecard that says at the beginning of the so-called reduction program, 13,300 nuclear warheads aimed at us, our cities, our military installations, everything we have. 13,300. i have stated frequently to my constituents, any one of those warheads could obliterate the city of indianapolis. there are thousands still there. the american public might have forgotten about it. the senators may have forgotten about it. we are deeply concerned about new york and iran and other programs in which there may be one, two, five, 20.
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we are talking about thousands of warheads that are still there. problems for our country. i supported the modernization of our -- i support all the efforts of the president, senator kerry and work with others in the republican party essentially, but we are at a point where we are unlikely to have either the preet treaty or modernization unless we get real. that's the point of our mting today. i appreciate the secretary sharing so vividly her impressions. i appreciate the chairman's patience through the hearing, through negotiations. we thank each one of you for helping us share this with the american people.
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>> is it really dead in the water? >> i hope that through our own outreach efforts to the russians which have been ooing as we have discussed the pros sess of ratifying this treaty, i hope the statement from the vice president, i hope that the very strong statement that you just heard from senators kerry and lugar send an unmistakable message we intend to do everything we can during this lame duck session to get a vote to ratify this treaty. and i think it is to me essential that we bring this before the senate. i think what senator lugar says is so important, nobody knows more about this issue than senator lugar. and for anyone to think tt we can postpone it or we can avoid
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it, i'm afraid vastly underestimating the continuing threat that is posed to our country. so we hope our friends in the senate will bring this up, pass this treaty, and then i can inform the russians it's now their turn to do the same, which they told us they will intend to do. [inaudible] >> i think that both senator kerry and senator lugar are experts at dealing with their senate colleagues. i had the privilege as you know to serve with them for eight years. they both believe that this must be done in the lame duck. the administration will stand with them. will do whatever it takes, literally around the clock, to reach out, to answer questions,
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to have discussions because we really -- this is not an issue that can afford to be postponed. we think once we take that message with the urgency that you heard from the three of us, we will get the votes and we will pass this treaty. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> house democrats have been meeting in caucus room in the capitol attempting to agree on the new leaders of the 112th congress. this has been going on for several hours now. we have heard just moments ago that members agreed 150-43 that current house speaker nancy pelosi will be the new house minority leader in the next session. this from the a.p. today the closed door vote today will let the california congresswoman shift from house speaker to
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minority leader in january. despite concerns by some democrats that the party needs new leadership after suffering huge midterm election offices. they had a power struggle between lieutenant steny hoyer of maryland and i james clyburn of south carolina who vied to be her second in command. mr. hoyer was poised to be the democratic vote counting whip and mr. clyburn will serve as the house's number three democrat. a story floated last week. we are standing by for remarks from current speaker pelosi and other house leaders. we hope to hear from them shortly. also let you know that republican leadership meetings are still under way. although we are hearing that a press conference with any announcement about those meetings has been put off until tomorrow. we are still watching the story and will give you more as we get it. in the meantime, house speaker nancy pelosi will continue as the minority leader in the 112th congress.
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>> once again we are standing by live in the u.s. capitol as house democrats have been meeting in their leadership caucus and they are now making their way to the microphone to make remarks on the results of the elections. >> today we obviously had our vote. it came out pretty much as we expected as i said before. but i think it wasn't about winning the race, but it was about having a voice within our caucus. i want to thank my members that are behind me who supported me,
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jim, mike have done an unbelievable job within our blog -- blue dog caucus, and larry, an incredible member from north carolina. i appreciate so much what you guys have done to support me. it wasn't about the winning or losing this race. truly making a difference within our caucus. to ensure that moderates are heard within the caucus and we have a seat at the table. i think that's what most of america would ask the caucus move in that direction. we have seen all the polls, the lattest data -- latest data, and we have to communicate to the american people to win back the election in 2012. we have to be a big part of that. i certainly hope so. to be able to get that many votes, that's a lot better than we expected. we probably never expected -- we only have 20-something blue dogs, exceed that with 43 is good. >> how do you see this going
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forward? the fact of the matter is nancy pelosi is still the leader. >> that was the commitment she's made. that's a commitment that a lot of the members in the caucus have really come to us and said, hey, they have to have a seat at the table. i think that's the only thing that's -- that will be best for our caucus and that will be best for the democrat party throughout this country. it was a message from the standpoint that there are more than just the blue dogs who have the concern with what is going on. and that message has been loud and clear. look what time it is. there was a lot of unrest in the room for now several hours. we extend the time for the leadership votes. that failed, but it was a substantial 68 votes i think to be able to extend the leaderships.
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i think that, too, along with what happened, it sends a message but in the way that is constructive. it will be a challenge. it depends upon how that challenge is met both with her, the leadership of the democratic party, but also the challenges that are going to be made with those members or that have lost or the possible candidates. and it's going to be how they articulate their own personal message within their communities. and their districts. and to be able to be elected. [inaudible] >> i'll be voting for heath shuler.
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>> i think we have always been in the situation that the most important thing is not about whether the majority or minority or whether democrats or republicans, it's about what can we do to make sure the american people and the next generation from a fiscal responsibility, it's not just the talking points that far too often my colleagues on the other side have, but make sure we have the right policy in place. that means working with both sides in order to make sure that that next generation's going to have the same type of advantages that we know today and that we have learned to love in this country. >> have any of you given consideration -- >> no. no. we are democrats. >> switching parties? >> that's what's so great about the democratic party. we are a very large dent. that was my message today to be able to have a large tent within the democratic party in order for us to be successful as party, but also to be successful as a country we have to make sure that we include everyone
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and that we all have a seat at the table and we all have -- we don't always have the same methods coming out of the caucus, but the most important thing is we truly believe in the middle class and making sure we move the country forward. thank you all. >> north carolina congressman
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heath shuler, also former washington redskins quarterback. apparently the only challenger to house speaker nancy pelosi for leadership of the house democrats in the next session of congress. that vote was 150-43. current majority leader steny hoyer becomesinority leader and current minority whip james clyburn of south carolina will serve in a newly created position as the house's number three democrat. we have yet to hear from current house speaker nancy pelosi. we are standing by to hear from her as house democrats continue in their caucus. this is live coverage on c-span.
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>> as we stand by waiting to hear from house speaker nancy pelosi and her victory as the new minority leader of the house, just one quick clarification, steny hoyer will become minority whip and current minority whip james clyburn, south carolina, will become the house's number three democrat. we have also heard that speaker pelosi will be out before the microphones and the cameras to make an announcement and to clarify and to make clear the results of the election. we will bring that to you in about half an hour, 45 minutes right here on c-span. before we brought you to the house caucus and the space right in front of the caucus meeting, we heard remarks from a press conference we were showing you from secretary of state clinton,
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senators lugar and kerry on the start treaty. right now we'll show you remarks from the senate earlier today from the floor of the senate. senator george voinovich had these remarks. he spoke for about 20 minutes. >> mr. president, i rise today to discuss the challenges america faces in our relationship with russia and their implications on the senate's consideration of the new strategic arms reduction treaty known as the start treaty. a number of my colleagues on both side of the aisle have spoken about the treaty's impact on global nuclear nonproliferation. i like to use my remarks today to highlight my concerns about the treaty in the broader context of, one, the obama administration's reset policy towards russia. two, the start treaty's impact on our allies in eastern europe
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and the ball particular states. i believe -- baltic states. i believe these concerns must be addressed by the administration before i can determine my support for the treaty. mr. president, over the last decade i have been an ardent champion of nato and have worked diligently to increase membership in the aligns. i have also been active in improving our public diplomacy in eastern europe through our expansion of the visa waiver program at the request of our friends and allies in central and eastern europe. and that legislation which the president signed and visa waiver was supported by both our state department and by our department of homeland security. in my remaining time in the senate i will continue to work to strengthen that visa waiver program which improved our image in the world, strengthen our borders through shared best practices, and enhanced intelligence sharing with our partners and allies abroad. my passion for formulation stems
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in large part from my upbringing as the grandson of southeast european immigrants. as an undergraduate of ohio university my first research paper examined how the united states sold out central and eastern europe in the former yugoslavia to the soviets at the yalta and tehran conferences in 1943 and 1945. these states would become the quote captive nations, suffering under the specter of the soviet domination brutality and oppression for nearly 50 years. as a public official, will i remain a strong supporter of the captive nations. during my tenure as mayor of cleveland i joined my brothers and sisters in the eastern european diaspora to celebrate the independence days of the captive nations at city hall. we flew their flags, we sang their songs, and prayed that one day people in these countries would know freedom. mr. president, we saw the berlin
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wall and iron curtain torn and thanks in large part to the leadership of pope john paul ii, president reagan, and president george h.b. bush. even at the end of the cold war i remained deeply concerned that darker forces in russia and re-meerging threat to democratcy, human rights and religious freedom. not just for the russian people but for the citizens of the newly freed captive nations. history's going to repeat itself. it always seems to do that. and this concern in 1998 during my tenure as governor of ohio and chairman of the national governor's association taught me to pursue all 50 state resolutions supportive nato membership for the check republic, hungary, and poland. when i think about the importance of nato and our commitment to the captive nation, i am inspired by president george w. bush's speech on nato expansion in warsaw on june 15, 2001. president bush stated, quote, we
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should not calculate how little we can get away with but how much we can do to advance the cause of freedom. there was concern at that time because of the debate over -- with russia we would back off and not support further expansion of nato. i worked diligently from my first day as a member of the senate in 1999 to extend nato membership to my brothers and sisters in the former captive nations. i knew nato membership would provide these fleng ling democracies safe harbor from the possible threat of new russian expansionism. but i also knew the process of nato expansion would enhance much more than security in europe. as i noted in a speech on the senate floor on may 21, 2002, while nato is a collective security organization formed to defend freedom and democracy in europe, we cannot forget that common values that we formed in
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terms of the alliance. in other words, the foundation of the alliance is based on common values. democracy, the rule of law, minority rights, these are among the values that form the hallmark of the nato alliance. mr. president, one of the proudest moments as a senator was when i joined president bush, secretary of defense don rumsfeld, chairman joint chiefs of stat richard myers he at the nato summit in prague on november 21, 2002, when secretary-general nato lord robinson officially announced the decision to invite bulgaria, romania, lithuania, estonia, latvia, slovakia, and slovenia to become part of the aligns -- alliance. that was truly one of the most thrilling days of my entire
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tenure as a united states senator. later that day my wife janet and i were happy to attend a dinner in honor of czech president at the prague castle. following that different at 1:30 in the morning prague time, i placed a call to talk with my brothers and sisters at home with ties with those nato countries. they gathered at the lithuanian hall at our lady of perpetual help to celebrate that day's historic events. and this is truly a capstone to years of effort on all of our parts. mr. president, it is because of my long history and work with the captive nations that i continue to worry about the uncertainties of our future relationship with russia. i have traveled to 19 countries during my 21 trips to the region as a senator. presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers in eastern europe have told me time and
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time again it is comforting for them to know their relationship with nato and the united states. and it serves as a vital hedge against the threat of future potentially expansionist russia. yet now there's much talk from the administration about resetting the u.s. bilateral relationship with russia. moscow seeks to regain its global stature and be respected as a peer in the international community. i don't blame them. president obama's made 2010 national security strategy states, quote, we seek to build a stable, substantive, multidimensional relationship with russia based on mutual interests. the united states has an interest in a strong peaceful and prosperous russia that respects international norms. end of quote. i agree with the president. there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach.
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mr. president, there are indeed key areas where the united states and russia share common cause and concern. number one, russia's a permanent member of the u.n. security council and will continue to be essential toward any effective multilateral pressure on iran to give up its nuclear program. russia continues to have leverage on north korean regime and state add nuclear-free korean peninsula is in the interest of both our nations. number three, we are partners in the international space station. until august, 2008, invasion -- their invasion of georgia, our government and u.s. industry were working hard on a nuclear cooperation agreement with russia similar to the one we entered into. i was working with that with senator lugar. i thought that was a good idea. why not do the same thing we did with india with russia? with the world economy as it is
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today, the worst thing we can do is break off communication and revert back to our cold war positions. president obama's trip to moscow last year and the president's reciprocal trip to washington in june were opportunities to further engage russia and determine where we have a symbiotic relationship and what we can accomplish together for the good of the international community. however, mr. president, i believe our reset policy with russia should not establish a relationship with moscow at the expense of our captive nations. former captive nations. we simply do not know how our relationship with russia will transpire during the years to come. will russia fully embrace a democratic government, free markets, and the rule of law? or will russia seek to re-establish its influence over the former soviet union whose collapse then president and now foreign minister described in
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2005 as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. this is what putin had to say, was the dissolution of the soviet union. pretty striking comment coming from the former president now prime minister. this brings us to the topic of the new start treaty which the senate may consider in the coming weeks. mr. president, americans' grand strategy towards russia must be realistic. it must be agile and as i have said it must take into account the interest of our nato allies. i am deeply concerned the new start treaty may once again undermine the confidence of our friends and allies in central and eastern europe. let me be absolutely clear. i do not ideologically oppose the administration's nonproliferation agenda. the president stated goal of a world without nuclear weapons is
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noble. but i believe the senate's consideration of the new start treaty must be considered through a wider lens that include the treaty's implications for our friends and allies in the former captive nations. let's talk about what's going on right now. first, i'm concerned about the uncertainties surrounding russia that could revert back to a country seeking to expand its influence on the baltic states and eastern europe. president med very deaf's february 2010 national military doctrine of the russian federation released two months, two months before the conclusion of the new start treaty of april of this year explicitly labels nato expansion as a national threat to russia's existence and reaffirms russia's right to use nuclear weapons if the country's existence is threatened. i'm sure such statements combined with russia's twitetwathe invasion of georgia
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sends shivers down the spines of our brothers and sisters in central and eastern europe. even if they don't say so publicly. mr. president, the concerns ever our captive nation's brothers and sisters regarding russia are not abstract. they are rooted in blood and tears. and they are rooted in a history of abandonment. my hometown of cleveland, ohio, was once the city with the second largest population of hungarians after buddha pest. i remember -- buddha pest -- buddha pest -- budapest. encouraged by the i am bliss it promise of intervention from the united states and united nations, hundreds of thousands of hungarians protested against the people's republic of hungary in support of economic reform and the end of political oppression. and those protests spread throughout hungary and the
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government was overthrown. but moscow sought to maintain its control over the captive nations, took advantage of america's inaction on the rebellion, invaded hungary, crushed the revolution, and established a new authority government. over 2,500 hungarians were killed in the conflict and 200,000 hungarians fled as refugees to the west. hunga whichry would suffer under the oppression of the soviet union for nearly another half century. and of course there was a similar episode in czechoslovakia during the prague spring of 1968. mr. president, the former captive nations have accomplished so much as free market democracies and members of the nato alliance. our friends and allies must have absolute confidence,
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negotiations toward the new start treaty did not include si agreements or informal understanding regarding any russian sphere of influence in those captive nations. moreover, i remain deeply concerned, even in the absence of agreements or understanding, that the former captive nations may once again wonder will the west abandon us again? will agreement with russia once again be placed above the interest and concern of our allies? will we forget what happened after yalta and tehran? we cannot? we cannot let this happen again. conventional forces, second to former captive nations are also closely watching russia's military activities. last september, nobody makes a big deal out of it, last september russia undertook operation west, a military
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exercise involving 13,000 troops simulating an air, sea, and nuclear attack on polandment -- poland. not much said about it. these war games which took place during the 70th anniversary of polish independence, were the largest russia military exercises since the end of the cold war. if you look at the russian military's recent activity, one cannot help but understand our allies' concern, moscow may be reverting to the past. i hope that president obama will meet with leaders from the former captive nations this weekend during the nato summit in lisbon. the president should provide these leaders public assurance or reassurance that the united states remains committed to article 5 of the north atlantic treaty which states an attack on any member of nato shall be
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considered to be an attack on all. one of the best ways to alleviate the anxiety about the russian military amongst our captive nation allies is for this administration to pursue negotiations with russia, compliance with the conventional forces in europe treaty, c.f.e. mr. president, the senate's potential consideration of the new start treaty cannot be disconnected from russia's prior track record on treaty compliance. compliance. russia decided in 2007 to suspend its compliance with the c.f.e. treaty, a treaty signed by 22 countries that placed balanced limits on the deployment of troops and conventional weapons in europe. this unilateral decision by moscow should serve as a reminder to my senate colleagues about moscow's commitment to its international obligations.
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russia's compliance with the c.f.e. treaty is essential to sustained security and stability in central and eastern europe, and their compliance -- again complying with it which sends a very great signal to the people that are worried about russia's direction. weaponization of oil and natural gas. mr. president, our friends in central and eastern europe are worried about the uncertainties surrounding a russia that appears at times to be reverting back to an authoritative state, seeking to weaponize its oil and natural gas resources as a means to expand its influence on europe and the west. russia has the largest reserves of natural gas and the eighth-largest oil reserves.
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moscow turned off the tap to europe in the recent past. they can do it again. we should also be concerned about moscow aougs its control -- using its control of oil and natural gas to pit members of nato against each other. i know when i was at the brussels forum this year and last year, i spoke with our friends in the e.u. and encouraged them that rather than unilaterally negotiating with russia in terms of natural gas that they should all come together and negotiate as a team so that they wouldn't be -- one wouldn't be pit off against the other. unfortunately, most of them ignored that. finally, mr. president, i am deeply troubled that the obama administration has tkpaoe
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coupled -- decoupled russia's human rights for the record america's bilateral relationship with russia. the united states and russia are both signatories of the 1975 helsinki declaration which clearly states that -- quote -- "participating states will respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion." in recent years we have seen anything but a respect for human rights in russia. prime minister putin stated during a recent interview with the comersant newspaper that former demonstrators in russia assembling without prior permission will be hit on the head with batons. it that's all there is to it. end of quote. the actions of the russian government speak hrourdz than
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words. we have -- louder than words. we have seen protests canceled, activists denied and abused. yet, we've seen little effort by this administration to engage in a sustained dialogue with moscow on its human rights record and commitments under the helsinki declaration. we did more about human rights violations 20 years ago in russia than we're doing today. it's like we have tape over our mouth. as david cramer of the german marshal fund of the united states notes in a "washington post" opinion on september 20 -- here's what he said -- "the human rights situation in russia is bad and likely to get more worse. march 2012 presidential election nears. those in power will do anything to stay in power. enough already with u.s. expressions of regret about the deteriorating situation inside russia. it's time to call it like it is.
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condemn what's happening there and consider consequences for continued human rights abuses. end of quote. i believe the obama administration's inaction and reluctance to confront russia on its human rights record sends a dangerous signal to moscow that there are little or no consequences for bad behavior. at a minimum, such coddling of bad behavior by the west only serves tow embolden moscow -- serves to embolden moscow to their resolve to hold russia accountable on international obligations. i want to read that again. at a minimum, such coddling of bad behavior by the west only serves to embolden moscow as to our resolve to hold russia to account on its international
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obligations. mr. president, i have fought all my life to secure freedom for my brothers and sisters in central and eastern europe and the former yugoslavia. once they received that freedom, i championed and continue to champion their membership in nato and the e.u., working with senator shaheen right now and the former yugoslavia to see how many of those countries we can get into the european union and how many we can get into the nato alliance. mr. president, i'll be darned at this stage in my life to do anything that would jeopardize their security and economic prosperity. i've seen too many opportunities for the region to slip away during my lifetime. i will not let it happen again.
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i will not let it happen again. political expediency should never be an excuse to rush to judgment on public policy, let alone our national security. treaties supersede all laws and acts of congress. the senate's advise and consent are among our most solemn constitutional duties. i cannot in good conscience determine my support for this treaty until the administration assures me that our reset policy with russia is a policy that enhances, rather than diminishes, the national security of our friends and allies throughout europe. moreover, mr. president, i must receive the strongest assurances that this policy does not once again amount to the united states leaving our brothers and sisters in the former captive
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nations alone against undue pressures from russia. one of the things i want to do, mr. president, i want to go when i finally cash out - i want to know that these countries that we forth at the end of the second world war were millions of people were sent to the gulag, that that never happens again. i think that this president has an obligation to look at this treaty beyond just the operational side. it is an obles to look at it as vietnaming our relationship with russia and we ought to get some things cleared up before we go ahead and sign this treaty. >> the one outstanding senate race has been decide.
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senator lisa mruczkowski has become the first senate candidate in 50 years to win a write-in campaign. alaskan officials confirmed they had only 700 votes left to count, putting her in safe territory to win re-election. he's flying back to alaska to address supporters, telling them the campaign, quote, makes history. this is a live look, we're waiting for nancy pelosi to speak, he's been elected minority leader for the 112th congress. we've learned that current majority leader, steny hoyer, has been elected minority whip. while we wait for speaker pelosi, we'll look at more senate debate. senator john cornyn spoke earlier today about the federal debt. here's what he had to say. resolution that the conference of republican senators and
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senators-elect adopted yesterday, one that i think fits the times that we are living in, one which has seen historic levels of federal spending and debt and deficits as well as unsustainable debt that will be inherited by our children and grandchildren unless we take responsibility for it. and this resolution i think would demonstrate the serious seriousness that we would have as a congress to get our nation's fiscal house in order. this resolution reads, "it is resolved by the united states senate republican conference that a balanced budget amendment to the united states constitution is necessary to restore fiscal discipline to our republicment, that a balanced budget amendment should require the president to submit to congress a proposed budget prior to each fiscal year in which total federal spending does not exceed total federal revenue,
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that a balanced budget amendment should include a requirement that a supermajority of the both houses of congress be necessary to increase taxes, and that a balanced budget amendment should include a limitation on total federal government spending." mr. president, i want to thank the 20 republican senators and senators-elect who cosponsored this resolution and the members of the conference who voted to adopt t but let plea just share waw few fact oids that i think -- factoids tt i think will demonstrate the compelling nature of this joint resolution and constitutional amendment. in fiscal year 2010, our defic was $1.3 trillion o 8.9% of the gross mestic product. that's actually down from 9.9% in fiscal year 2009 but certainly nothing to celebrate. 8.9% of gross domestic product.
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the congressional budget office baseline estimates that federal deficits will average $605 billion each year through 2010, and the budget that the president submitted to us last year itself, if implemented, would call for $1 trillion of deficit each year for the next ten years. we know that the budget act passed by congress, signed by the president, requires the president of t united states to submit his budget by the first monday in february. and i can tell you that i'm anxiously waiting to see if n. that budget proposal submitted by the president by the first monday inebruary his commitment to fiscal discipline, now particularly since the american people have spoken so loudly and so clearly about their concerns over reckless spending and endless debt. we know that a balanced budget amendment actually works because
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virtually every state in the nation has one, including my state of texas. only the federal government -- only the federal government -- has really no requirement of a balanced budget and can spend huge deficits, borwed money it does not have. no family in america, no small business, when income goes down, can continue to spend at the same level. they have to live within their means, and so should t united states government. we also know that a balanced budget amendment is popular with the public. a recent poll of florida voters showed 71% approved aof a nonbinding resolution supporting a balanced budget amendment. and we'vectually had votes in the united states senate on this not that long ago. well, it was 1997. i will leat you judge whether that was long ago or not. actually at the time 66 senators voted in favor of a balanced
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budget amendment, one shoul shye two-thirds necessary, including 11 colleagues on the other side of the aisle demonstrating support for a balanced budget amendment. but, mr. president, it is important to note at that time when 66 senators voted 0en a bipartisan basis f a balanced budget amendment the deficit was only 1.4% of gross domestic product. today it is 8 boy .9%. i think if a balanced budget amendment was a good idea, at least in the minds of 66 senators in 1997, it is an even better idea today. so i hope colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join with me, and i with them, to offer ideas on drafting of this joint resolution. of course, as yo know, under article 5 of the constitution of the united states, a constitutional amendment can emanate from congress itself with two-thirds vote or it can
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be the result after constitutional convention. under either circumstance, three-quarters ofhe states would be necessary to ratify t but i think if republicans and democrats can listening to the voice of the american people and get behind a joingts resolution, it will restore some of the public's lost confidence in our ability, in our willingness both to heed their voice but also to live up to our responsibilities. i think a balanced budget amenent would be a big step forward in the cause of fiscal discipline but of course not the only step. as the cochairs of the president's debt commission have already indicated, we need other measures, like they called for -- one that caught my eye -- an intervent committee charged with cutting waste and tarkting investment they noticed actually a good example at the state level in my state of texas where we have a sunset commission which requires every ten years for every state agency to go
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through a process to determine whether the programs and the agency itself continues to have good reason to exist at the spending levels authorized. we need something like that ich will provide tremendous ability for us to have additional tools to contain cost and to avoid wasteful spending. to that end, i've introduced the model of the bill in the model of the texas sunset commission called the united states authorization and sunset commission act, and i urge my colleagues to take a look at that, as i can ashire you that come -- as i can assure that you come january when we have a new congress i will reoffer that legislation again. mr. president, thank you veryyyy >> a live look inside the capitol building where we await remarks by nancy pelosi. members of the house are choosing their leaders for the 112th congress today.
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republicans have elected john boehner of ohio the next speaker, while eric cantor of virginia is the new majority leader. while we continue to wait for remarks by current speaker nancy pelosi, wyle hear from senator tom coburn from this morning's "queash journal." journal" continues. host: senator tom coburn, republican of oklahoma. thank you for being here. a busy week on capitol hill as everyone returns to get down to business. what are you hearing about the influence of the tea party as people return and assess the midterm elections? amst: i don't know that i hearing anything about them specifically other than to recognize the fact they played in the election. there are several new senators who had tremendous tea party support. i think it has been a healthy exercise for our country
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because it is focused really on the real problems that we face fiscally and probably institutionally in washington. the bad habits that washington has better challenged by the tea party. host: some of the folks who ran with tea party support in the senate races across the country cited jim demint and u s two of their most inspiration of figures. i know joe miller did up in alaska. not all of the folks one, though. the think the message is still getting through? guest: look, the basic tea party message is government is too big, it is outside the bounds of what it was intended, and the spending and the debt are a real risk for the future liberties of american people. that resonates across a broad spectrum of america. and so, i don't think anybody will lost lost on the basis of
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what they embrace but that they were beaten by someone else. america has to come back at -- and look at the basic problems challenging us. host: you can join the conversation -- yesterday the republican caucus in the senate decided to have a self-imposed ban on earmarks. you are a supporter of that. guest: absolutely. host: how did that gain momentum? that was not always the most popular viewpoint. guest: no, it wasn't. if you go back to 2005 when the bridge to nowhere was challenged in the senate when we really started this fight on earmarks, and the negative aspects, it has taken five years for the american people to see what is
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really there. it is interesting, a poll came out that 73% of independents, 52% of democrats and i think 67% of republicans are adamantly opposed to the earmarking process. it is because of the consequential bad things that are associated with them. a year marks in and of themselves are not a bad thing. but what it has caused us to do in the result has been tremendously negative for the country in terms of this budget. host: why not reform the system? senators, members of the house, who do support earmarks, especially some of them -- some of the democrats are saying it is not time to throw them out altogether. some said reform the system, get rid of corruption -- guest: theyre other corruption, that is the problem. they are the dollar trade that causes people to vote differently than what they would
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vote for the best interest of the country. the way you get rid of the corruption is to start asking congress to do its job, which is to oversight the federal government. what happens is, we allows special interests to influence where money is spent. so if you are well heeled and well-connected or you are connected into a campaign organization and can raise money, you can bet you are going to get a benefit financially out of the federal government. that has nothing to do with a free society and a republic form of government. so, what has to happen is you have to stop that process and then the consequences of not having money go directly to where members of congress might go -- wanted, you need to oversight executive branch agencies to make sure they are doing a good job. host: 8 editorial says blasting earmarks is a way to avoid the serious discussions about difficult spending cuts and tax increases which is the only way to dig the country out of the
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financial hole. guest: there is no question we have been significant spending cuts. i think they are wrong, we don't have to raise taxes. if you look at all of the waste, fraud, abuse, you can knock up to $500 billion per year out of the federal government. the assumption that we have a revenue problem i think is wrong. it is the first that among many to get our house in order. but when in fact bills are passed because people are bought off by your march 2 will for a bill they otherwise would vote for, -- bought off by earmarks for a bill the otherwise would vote for. earmarks a gateway drug to overspending and one of the ways we got in trouble. forte -- 200 years this country did not do earmarks. this is a new phenomenon. it started in the 1970's. ronald reagan vetoed a
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transportation bill that had about one engine and 20 earmarks in it. this is a new phenomenon. we operated for two runs it years -- which operated for 200 years. remember, most of them are never competitively bid. they are not sunlighted, no transparency on them, so consequently -- and the most important thing about earmarks is the undermine people's confidence in washington. what we need to do -- if our country is going to succeed and get out of this jam we are and we need to rebuild confidence and not continue to tear it down. host: some democrats as saying earmarks can be a way to halt projects at home that congressional members may have more of a handle on then the fed to do, they complained operation bills are not being passed. that using the authorization bill as a mechanism to get
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projects pushed through, as senator mccain said, is not realistic because the senate is not moving forward. guest: the democrats are in control so if it wanted to put them through they had massive majorities for the last two years and four years. if they in fact wanted them to get through it would have gotten through. it is a priority. i think that is a fairly lame excuse. the fact is, most earmarks, people don't want them to be highlighted, they do not want them to be sunshined. a good portion of what we take money from americans and then resending it back out, if you look at article one, section 8, of the constitution, a new breed of powers, are not with it. we are talking about all the way from building a parking lot or for a museum in omaha, nebraska, or a sculpture garden in
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seattle, you have trouble finding in the constitution the authority for the federal government to be involved in that spirit that is what you see. we are in such a deep hole right now, that unless we start changing the bill in washington i am not sure we get out. host: let us go to some of the calls. christian, republican caller in new york. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. senator, you mentioned civil liberties. i got to be honest, i believe that neither of the two major parties are interested in civil liberties. you see that with this airport thing. getting blasted with x-rays, taking nude pictures, getting fondled. i want to ask you, will you help me and many americans who care about civil liberties in protesting and standing against these measures? this whole war on terror is taking our civil liberties and they are almost gone.
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guest: i think there is a balance. we have allowed the threat of terrorism to cause us to do some pretty significant things. and as somebody who goes through those systems twice a week every week, i am not happy about what we are doing. but i am not sure that you have actually lost a civil liberty if in fact there is a threat of safety in terms of transportation, because there are a lot of other ways to be transported. we opted to fly because it is fast and fairly inexpensive compared to the others. and i am not happy. i opt out every time going through the new scanners simply because i don't want the medical exposure that is associated. so, i go through the pat down in tulsa, and almost every other airports where they have the
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scanners rather than the magnetometers. i did you raise a very interesting point of -- think you raise to -- if we give up freedom to be free, what we gain? guest: senator, could go back -- senator tom coburn is our guest, he is a physician. he was a member of the u.s. house in 1995 and stuck to his term-limit pledge. you served three terms. and host: let us go to our next caller, a democrat in tennessee. caller: my name is arnold joseph white. i co-authored a book called "the crime 9/11 intervention --
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9/11 inter vention." i read a blog that said 50% of americans believe that our elections -- our electoral process is broken and the other 50% believe that it is fixed. this segment that was on before you about the leadership and direction, we need to make sure that all of our elections have relevance by making them honest. guest: about a 50% turnout the
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last time. some may have thought there were relevant. we want to create a trust and confidence that we are one to do the best and right thing is in the long term for the american people. washington is an interesting place, because things are not always as they seem. i think over the last 10 or 50 or even 20 years, apathy has grown -- 15 or even 20 years, apathy has grown in our country. it has taken on issues that people say, do not do that if you want to continue to be elected to an office. you are politically not correct if you do it. i think everything ought to be on the table. we should have free debate in our country.
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many are willing to defend those minority positions can be wrong. i think honest and open debate and i would like to see as get away from long-term service. i am a big believer in term limits. i think that helps us. i think it is important that we bring people with the experience in the world to congress. i am not sure that we do that. i think that is part of the reason of what i consider some stupid things are done in washington, d.c. >> senator tom coburn from oklahoma. and when it says that you talk about president obama and praise him weekly. he may not think much of the obama administration, but he still has some regard for president barack obama, the man.
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can you talk to us about your philosophy relating to the president? guest: it is not just the president, but reconciliation. countries go to war because they are alienated. i think we cannot talk to somebody or have a relationship -- i like president obama as a person an individual. we became friends in the senate. i am probably out there in terms of opposition to his policy. i think he is a very unique, smart, bright individual. he is our president. we should support him where we can. we should nourish our relationships so we can have a good dialogue. host: we have someone calling us
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from illinois. caller: there is a new republican house member that first got elected [unintelligible] then when he went for his orientation, there was a problem. he wanted to know if he could by the government health plan. when will the hypocrisy and? ?- end th guest: when the health care bill was going through, the members of congress will be under this health care bill that was passed. we will be in the state exchanges just like everyone else in the country. right now the members of congress have the same options as every other federal employee.
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i think there are 352 different plans you can choose from. the cost increases in federal health insurance is have been less than the others. that is one problem with the health care plan. host: here is a story from "politico." what do you think about that? guest: i think it is a little bit misguided. the no. 1 seles -- social issue is we are stealing money from our kids and grandkids. what are the consequences of the american government? 25 years from now, somebody that
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is 2500 $1illion in debt on the federal government. -- 25 is going to 0 $1 million in debt on the federal government. we will take and undermine the ability of our children's children to get a college education, own a home, have a car, house their families, because of what we are doing today. when you use the broad strokes social issues -- i am not going to walk away from me being pro- life. we need to look at those issues just like we look at every other issue. what we should do is work on the most important one. the most important issue on our country is a social issue. what are we going to leave our kids? right now, we will bankrupt them.
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host: south carolina, republican. caller: good morning. i want to say thank you for your commitment to the american people. i am a catholic from a conservative, pro-life, and i thank you for your commitment to defending life as a united states senator and protective life socially as a doctor to care for it. my question for you today is i am leaving from south carolina. we are very proud of our senator and our new congressmen. our concern is they do not get up there. the new 60 plus members that are conservative do not get up into washington get potomac fever. after the '94 election with newt gingrich, who i hope runs for
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president in 2012, we do not want them to lose their ground and realize what they were sent to do, and that is to shrink government, lower taxes, and promote the conservative cause and fight for the american people. we know that you have never lost that ground. we thank you. i hope that you can give some inspiration on how we can keep our new guys conservative and true to the conservative cause. guest: i think you have to hold the members of congress accountable. how do you do that? if you demand they have town hall meetings. you go to their offices if they will not. you demand they be transparent with their votes. end the reason why they voted. -- and the reason why they voted. freedom is not easy. we have to work at it. people tend to migrate to a
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position of comfort, even in washington. even in a position for a congressman or senator. it is setting up things around you that will help you limit your arrogance and humble you and put you back on the right way. you should be reminded of what you need to be for your members and what they need to be about as well. host: our next caller. caller: why should we trust the republicans? when he mentioned ronald reagan not support of one item when he was president. ronald waken expended average deficit by 186% -- ronald reagan expanded our deficit by 186%. why should we trust you as an
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individual when you assist a member of the c-street to take hush money to keep quiet about an affair? guest: i do not think he should trust republicans or democrats or any political party. what you have to do is hold your individual member [inaudible] and a debate the history. you have the most sustained growth that this country has ever seen economically in the past 50 years under the reagan administration. i came in opposing the spending of the bush administration. i was elected on the fact that i was opposing it. we label everybody. we label them in lots of different ways. what you have to do is hold people accountable.
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the labels are not as important as the actions. i think we need to be judged on our actions. host: year is what is set from tulsa world. -- here is what was said from tulsa world. guest: we get all hon of on parties -- hung up on parties. we should be passed this time or we are divided and partisan and bitter. the fact is, none of this helps us retina. we have never been in trouble but we are in today.
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i am hesitant to speak as plainly about it as i know, because i think it is too scary. we need to make sure we address the first things first. right to know we are in such a financial pickle that through all the partisanship -- if we through all of the partisanship out, and said, how are we going to solve this -- as long as we have the partisanship and we think back -- it is really alienation. we heard the gentleman from wisconsin. there was not only faxed he was quoting, but there was bitterness there. when we have that kind of alienation, where we cannot get past it to solve the problems in front of us, we will not solve the. we all will be worse off, whether you are a liberal,
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conservative, democrat, or republican. everyone loses. host: we have a caller from ohio. caller: even though i am a democrat, i do admire a lot of republicans. i admire what you said about that you do reach out and you have a relationship with president obama. you are the first person i think i have heard a say that. i am going to make some comments really quick. as far as the earmarks in the past, why was there never anybody to make sure those things were done? they took advantage of them and did what they wanted to do. i agree with you on the limit in washington as far as leadership. we should not only tried to get
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jobs. -- try to get jobs. i hope it is not like japan where everybody is bickering and nothing is accomplished. as far as the health insurance, i had to retire because i became very ill. i worked for the va medical center. my health insurance when i was with them, it went up every year. every single year. i believe that everybody should read president bush's book, because there are things that people have overlooked and the media has overlooked and have not said what he has said in his book. guest: on the earmarks, when they are not competitive, they
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are not over cited. here is this a chunk of money that goes to a particular area. we did not get good value for it, whether it was a priority or not. then you never know whether they actually spent the money on the thing they were supposed to spend the money on. host: this is from "politico." was there a mistake made there? guest: you could go the other way. he supported marker rubio and charlie crist. he got elected. i do not think we help anybody by armchair quarterbacking. this is a free country and you should be able to support who you want.
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i am not sure anybody has all of that knowledge that they can pronounce that they know what were to happen had somebody else been nominated. i do not think it is helpful to speculate on it. the fact is, what happened happened. there will be another election in two years, and we will see what happens. host: what is your take on the recommendations and how realistic is it? guest: let us set the stage for it. we have to do something. when this came through the senate, i did not vote for it. it was supposed to be set up by the senate and the house to do this. i think we are a have a decent commission, it is called u.s. congress. there is no urgency for us to become austere.
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the president set up this commission. i was appointed by our leadership to serve on it. what has been recommended thus far in terms of the co-chairman smart -- mark, it does not go far enough. it needs to be six or $7 trillion to start making a difference in terms of whether or not we can afford our debt, whether we will have a decent interest rate on our debt. right now, we are in a very precarious position both in terms of the liquidity crisis that potentially could come. when people start rolling against the united states bonds, they will do it like that. what we need is to make sure we had expended the time to get our house in order. we have a treasury department
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today that is shrugging off short-term notes instead of long-term ones. by the time they want to quote them, it will cost a whole lot more. i think the problems in front of us are of such magnitude that people should be asking us to throw off labels. i have said, i do not think we need increased taxes, but i will take it if we cut spending. we have to look down the road in solving problems for everybody, no matter what it looks like. host: are you surprised at the reaction on capitol hill to the recommendations? are you disappointed? guest: it is hard to know how it is moving forward. this is why i would love to see this -- the president stepped up and say, i do not care if you are republican or democrat, everyone of us to get out of
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this problem we are in, we will have to make a sacrifice. it is time for you to stop thinking about you and start thinking about other people. if we are going to do that in have the leadership to do that, i think you could go down the road with a much more effective resolution to some of our problems with a lot less bitterness in debate. washington is about protecting the players' individual interest. it is not about doing the best thing for america. we need to be about doing what is best for america and for our kids in the generations to come. there is a lot at risk right now. we are in very troubled times. it is going to require real leadership to say i am willing to bend some to do what we need to do. host: a republican, in delaware. caller: thanks.
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i am sick of the shenanigans that is going on especially in washington. democrats and republicans are fiddling around and the chinese are straight ahead of us in every category -- medical, transportation, research and development. we are piddling away our whole system. i would like to see you run for president. i am tired of the republican party filibustering every piece of legislation, all of these bills caught up in the senate. the republicans are filibustering everything against every bit of change. filibustering is not in the constitution, but yet they choose to filibuster. i would like to hear what you have to say.
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i appreciate you, and i like you. guest: i am probably where most of the scores should be directed -- scorn should be directed to. i told my colleagues at the first of congress if you want to create a new program you have to eliminate some program today. we cannot keep doing this. if they are not paid for and if they are not within the constitution, article one section 8 of the constitution, we do not have any business doing it. probably part of the difficulty is with me than republicans in general. i m part of the cause of the rock that has gotten in the gears here.
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we have taken the party labels too far. i think we are missing it, both democrats and republicans, if we do not start thinking about what is best for america. s a physician, i am trained to fix the real disease. the way physicians get sued is they treat symptoms instead of disease. they allow themselves to be talked into this is this, and it is not the underlying disease. i see this in a washington all the time. we treat symptoms, because it plays well in quiet things down. but it causes the underlying disease to smolder. it is like the health care bill. we did not fix the real problem. the problem with health care is that it costs too much. we did not address that.
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we address these other symptoms rather than the core problem. that is what i see congress do in all of the time. we have a bill coming up to that lays on more layers of regulations on to the bureaucrats that are responsible, but it does not solve the bill problem. we have agencies that are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. that is the real problem. i am challenging the status quo on that. i think we need to do more of that. we are the safest country in the world. how much more can you spend to make it safer? can we be 100% homeless security? no. we should be asking those questions, especially in light that we have bankrupted average children. host: not letting things going
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through in the senate, what you think about the proposal to get rid of that secret hold? guest: if you are holding -- there is a secret rolling hold, which would require >> live now to the capitol for remarks by outgoing speaker of the house nancy pelosi. >> i'm proud to announce we've just come from our democratic caucus, our organizational caucus, and have elected the leadership for the 112th congress. i want to recognize nancy pelosi, steny hoyer, jim clyburn, javier becerra and chris van hollen. but most importantly, this extraordinary caucus of ours that's come together on maff of the american people, whose
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members, several of whom we met with yesterday, who won't be returning to this caucus, were so uplifting in their encouragement in our pursuit on behalf of jobs in this economy and fighting on behalf of the american people that it's what brings us together in union -- and unifies us behind our great -- our great leader nancy pelosi. nancy? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wish all of america could have seen our caucus today, and yesterday, as you mentioned, mr. chairman to hear the commitment they have to fighting for the middle class, for saving social security, for honoring our men and women in uniform and building a future worthy of their sacrifice for our great country. we are just going to speak briefly,'ve of us, but i'm proud to be part of this leadership team. our consensus is they we go out there listening to the american people, it's about jobs, it's about reducing the deficit and it's about fighting for the
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middle class. i want to make one special mention because we have a new position for chris van hollen who has been nominated to be -- chosen to be the ranking member on the budget committee. the budget, many expect to be a statement of our national values. i know that chris van hollen will make that fight based on values, based on are reducing deficits, based on fighting for the middle class. i want to congratulate him on his new position. >> steny hoyer. >> thank you very much. this was a difficult election to say the least. the american public reflected their anxiety and their desire that the congress of the united states focus on creating jobs, growing our economy, and ensuring fiscal balance for the long term.
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we're committed to that objective. i've talked about and the speaker talked and others talked about the agenda of make it in america. we want to make sure that americans understand that they and their children can make it in america, but also that we can make it in america, manufacture it and grow it in america, and sell it around the world so we grow good jobs for our people. we are going to participate as a minority in this congress. but we will be ever vigilant to keep the republicans as they did to us, to their rhetoric on fiscal balance and on growing jobs. that is what the american people have asked us to do. that's what we think we have been doing, which is why we created a million jobs this year alone in the private sector.
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we'll continue to work and to focus on the agenda we have listened to the american people and we're going to respond to their needs and the needs of their families and the needs of their children for a better america a prosperous america and an america that has a job for everyone who wants to work. thank you very much and next i'm pleased to yield to my dear friend whom i've known for 45 years, who i've worked with for much of that time on behalf of making an america that all of us can be proud of, jim clyburn of south carolina, the assistant to the leader. i'm sorry, assistant leader. >> thank you very much, steny. thank you for your friendship, your leadership and madam speaker -- you're still speaker -- thank you so much for what you've done for this caucus.
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i note dnd a a -- and what you'll do in the 112th. i want to thank both of you. the last two days our caucus has been being very introspective. i've enjoyed sitting down yesterday for about five or six hours, listening to our members, listening to those who will not be with us next time. today we went through a process that i think will lay a foundation for us to be prospective as we go forward. i'm looking forward as i said
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earlier in my remarks, we've been -- we've been at these crossroads before, we know what it takes to get us back to where we need to be on behalf of the american people and we are going to do it with enthusiasm and i'm looking forward to what lies ahead. thank you so much. with that, i suspect i should yield to our vice chair, javier becerra, my classmate. >> i thank mr. clyburn and as i learned a long time ago from a friend in elected office, then was then, now is now. we have a job in front of us. we know it and we're ready to get back to work and to continue to build on the successes of 150,000 jobs created last month, more than a million created in the last 10 months, on the fact that we just got word that 14% more small businesses are offering
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health insurance to their employees as a result of a health care bill the historic health care bill we passed and we are ready to go to work because we know jobs for us is job -- we know job one for us is jobs for americans. as we look out here, i think it sounds even bet for the spanish, when people ask can we do it, we say si. i would like to ask our ranking member on the budget committee to say a few words. >> thank you, javier. i want to thank the members of the democratic caucus for electing me to be the ranking member of the budget committee in the next congress, we know it's going to be a central front in the great national debate we will have about the best way to kick our economy into higher gear to make sure we put more americans back to
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work and for the first time now our republican colleagues are going to share in the responsibility for trying to get the economy back on its feet as my colleagues have said, we made substantial progress over the last 20 months, but we all acknowledged that people are still hurting and we have a long way to go. where we can find common ground in doing that, and i hope we can find common ground, we'll work together and where we have differences, we will make our differences known. it's important that the whole nation engage in this debate over our values and priorities as we seek to get the economy in full gear and make sure that we put this country on a path of fiscal responsibility and fiscal discipline, so i'm looking forward to that great debate, i thank the speaker, our leadership team and i thank the members of our caucus for supporting me as we take on these responsibilities in the new congress.
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>> madam speaker, madam speaker, madam speaker. >> [inaudible] . >> the same leadership now as it was before november 2. what do you say to those voters? >> the medge we received from the american people is that they want a job. they want jobs. 9.5% unemployment is a very tough screen to get through with any other message. what we want to say to the american people is what mr. hoyer was saying. we want them to make it in america. to manufacture in our country so that their families can make it in america. this is an experienced, diverse leadership team that is very strong, it's a team that took us to victory in 2005 and 2006 and will take to us victory again. in the meantime, i would say to the american people, we extend a hand of friendship to the republicans, we look forward to hearing their ideas on job creation and deficit reduction. i harkin back to a president in
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my youth who inspired me, john f. kennedy, who said we must not seek a republican way or a democratic way, we must find the right way to go forward as we take our own responsibility for the future. now we're serving under another young and aspiring president of the united states and i want the american people to know that we all strive to work together wherever possible in a bipartisan way, to create jobs and reduce the deficit and i'm very, very proud of our leadership team and proud of the role mr. clyburn will serve as assistant leader. he's an icon in our country in terms of working for the middle class and a new change, mr. van hollen, as the ranking member on the budget committee. and i say then how sad we are to lose mr. spratt, a very distinguished member of congress who always put forth a budget that was a statement of our national values, what's
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important to our country was reflected there. that's what i would say. >> your positive ratings -- [inaudible] . why are you the best person to lead house democrats? >> let me put that in perspective. how would your ratings be if $75 million were spent against you? because i'm a leader, because we got the job done on health care, wall street reform and consumer protections, the list goes on. because they know that i'm the person that can attract the resources but intellectual and otherwise to take us to victory because i have done it before. and so again, you take 9.5% unemployment, you have $75 million spent against one person and i'd like to see what your ratings will be. i'm so proud of our members and
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so many of them have said to me that they want to keep the door open to running again and to work with this leadership team. >> can i just add one thing? i urge to you speak to the overwhelming number of our membership who elected nancy pelosi to be our leader because i believe as each and every one of them has said that she has led us and she has led us to historic heights and many of us believe that we are prepared to take this country to even greater heights. many of us spoke very loudly that the person who could do that here in the house of representatives for this democratic caus is a woman who is named nancy pelosi. >> they know her will most importantly, they know her heart. and that's what was felt today. the heartfelt feeling of this caucus behind this great leader. thank you very much. >> we have to go to work now. thank you all. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> nancy pelosi has been elected minority leader for the 11th congress. she defeated congressman heath shuler who was also nom nailted. he seefpked 43 votes to ms. pelosi's 150. here are some remarks by congressman shuler from earlier today.
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>> hello, everyone. today we obviously had our vote. it came out pretty much as we expected, as i'd said before. but i think it wasn't about winning the race but it was about having a voice within our caucus. i want to thank my members that are behind me and who have supported me, jim, mike have done an unbelievable job within our blue dog caucus and, larry, an incredible member from north carolina and i appreciate what you -- what you have done to support me. it wasn't about winning or losing this race. it was about making a difference within our caucus. to ensure that the moderates are heard within the caucus and that we have a seat at the table. and i think that's what most of america would ask, that our caucus move in that direction. we've seen all the polls, the latest data that has come out and we have to be able to communicate to the american people in order to win back the election in 2012 and when he to be a big part of that -- and we
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have to be a big part that have. i certainly hope so. to be able to get that many votes, that's better than we expected. we probably never expected -- we only have 20-something blue dogs and to exceed that with 43 is pretty good. [inaudible] i mean, that was the commit thament she's made. that's a commitment that a lot of the members in the caucus have really come to us and said, hey, they have to have a seat at the table. i think that's the only thing -- that will be best for our caucus and that will be best for the democrat party throughout this country. [inaudible] well, it was a message from the standpoint that there are more than just the blue dogs who have a concern with what is going on. and that message has been loud
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and clear. it's quite obvious, look what time it is. there was a lot of unrest in the room for now several hours. we extend the time for the leadership votes. that failed but it was a substantial 68 votes i think to be able to extend the leaderships and i think that too, along with what just happened, i think it send as message but in the way that it's constructive. [inaudible] as i've said it's going to be a challenge. it depends upon how that challenge is met both with her, the leadership of the democratic party, but also the challenge had that are going to be made with those members or that have lost or the possible candidates and it's going to be how they articulate their own personal message within their communities and their districts and they'll be able to be
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elected. [inaudible] no. no. [inaudible] >> well, i think we've always been in a situation that the most important thing is not about whether we're in the majority or minority or whether we're democrats or republicans, it's about what can we do to make sure the american people in the next generation from a fiscal responsibility, is not just a talking point, but make sure we have the right policy in place. that means working with both sides in order to make sure that that next generation's going to have the same type of advantages that we know today and that we have learned to love in this country. >> have any of you given
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consideration to -- [inaudible] . >> no. we're democrats. and that's what is so great about the democratic party. we are a very large tent and that was my message today. to be able to have a large tent within the democratic party and in order for us to be successful as a party but also to be successful as a country, we have to make sure that we include everyone and that we all have a seat at the table and we all have -- you know, we don't always have the same message coming out of the caucus but the most important thing is that we truly believe in the middle class and making sure had that we move the country forward. thank you all. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> the house is expected to gavel back in about 20 minutes at 4:30 eastern. they'll be taking up the president's veto of an interstate notarization bill and vote on other bills debated earlier. in the meantime, a discussion on mortgage foreclosures and its effect on the economy from this morning's "washington
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journal." studentcam.org. host: thanks for coming in. guest: thanks. host: yesterday you had a story from bloomberg. talk to us about what lawmakers are hearing right now. there's a u.s. senate hearing that's been going on. guest: yesterday the senate banking committee met. and for the first time brought the banks to talk about the foreclosure mess that we've been watching since september, i suppose. it was the first opportunity that congress had to grill these guys on what has gone wrong. and they brought in two of the biggest banks, j.p. morgan, jpmorgan chase and bank of america which is the largest mortgage servicer in the country. we're looking for answers. i don't think we really got a lot of new information from the banks. but their bottom line was that
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we regret making mistakes in the foreclosure process. we're trying to fix the system. there was some con thrition from the banks -- contrition from the banks. the banks are talking to regulators and law enforcement about how to make repairs. host: this is congress' first crack at talking about this, as you mentioned. they were on recess when a lot of this started to evolve and come to light. what was the mood or the atmosphere of the senators? guest: it was interesting because pretty much every member on the committee had a story from someone back in their district about a foreclosure gone wrong or a home loan modification gone wrong. all of these horror stories about homeowners and borrowers getting trapped in the system. the banks, again, were confronted with these dozens of examples of individual
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homeowners. lawmakers also said they had been overwhelmed with calls from constituents during the recess. you know, people begging for help. so it was a chance for the lawmakers to vent after a couple of months of having to deal with this. host: let's look at some of the comments that senator chris dodd made yesterday. >> we need to keep in mind that the bad mortgage servicing is far more than a technical issue. at the same time, we must all acknowledge that not all every delinquent borrower home ought to be saved or can be saved. in my view, we need to strike a balance, have morrow bust loan modifications, including loan modifications that result in real principle forgiveness that will finally put an end to our housing crisis. at the same time, i hope you will agree that we can expedite foreclosure that cannot be prevented, for example, a significant number of homes waiting foreclosure are vacant today in the country. there's no reason in the world to slow down the process on these homes. we will need to work together
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going forward if we hope to finally put an end to this housing crisis. host: banking committee chairman chris dod speaking yesterday. our --- dodd speaking yesterday. you had a story a couple of days ago where you were talking about this new report that's out, this november oversight report, the panel looking at what really went wrong. we're talking about mostly these robo-signed loans. there's sort of a best case scenario and worst case scenario as to what went wrong and what the implications might be. can you talk about those? guest: this panel was selected to oversee tarp, basically, th the $700 billion bailout of banks. it raised the question of whether or not the foreclosures and the problem of the system would get so bad that it would start creating some sort of systemic pressure on the banks. they raised the question, you
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know, will we see banks start to take such big losses from this that they could fail? and the panel's answer was, yes, this is something we should be concerned about. that was their sort of takeaway, worst case scenario. now, this goes against what the u.s. treasury has said. the obama administration repeatedly has said foreclosures -- the problem is bad. the problems with the system are bad. they're hurting the economy, but we can get through it, there's not going to be any sort of catastrophic failure in the system. now, the panel got a lot of attention because they were the first sort of high-level group, government group, to raise this concern that, wait a minute, you know, the obama administration might not be right, we disagree with them. so you had heard chris dodd just a minute ago also saying that we need to keep pushing these foreclosures through the system because if we put some sort of moratorium on them, it will only make the economic recovery even
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more sluggish. host: senator ted kaufman, delaware, who chairs this panel, talked about how in a worst scais scenario -- case scenario, the robo signing, might not just be an error on the banks, a mistake that was made, an error in judgment, but it can -- he said the banks cannot prove that they own mortgage loans that they claim to. he said repercussions could be that people might be owning the mortgage that someone else owns, and two banks could try to foreclose on the same property. and this could get incredibly complicated and incredibly messy. is that the first time we heard this sort of dire warning that there could be a whole layer under this? the. guest: the consumer groups and bankruptcy lawyers, the foreclosure defense lawyers, have been saying this for quite a while, even before september when we first started seeing the robo signing issue surface.
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the problem is this. ouour mortgage system has gotten so complicated that the industry created basically legal shortcuts for document who owns the loan. it used to be back in the day would you go into your courthouse, back in the 1980's, and you would see stacks of mortgages, you know, waiting to be entered into the courthouse system. your local counties were overwhelmed with this when real estate started to really bubble up. and so the industry -- the mortgage industry said we're going to make this all digital. we're going to put everything into a database. we're not going to record every piece of paper. so that's where this problem comes in, this sort of non-transparent, digital, industry-owned system of decide who owns a mortgage, when a mortgage is transferred, how to record that transfer.
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that's what these consumer groups are talking about. you know, banks, say, no, we've got it under control, the system has been working. there's never been a dispute over who owns the mortgage. and the examples of improper foreclosures at the end of the day, we don't really see -- we don't have very many examples of those. they're saying everything is fine. we'll see. host: let's get to some calls. kenny joins us, a republican in indiana. good morning. caller: i have a question for lorraine. like i said, i watch "washington journal" every morning. i've been retired for eight years. i'm 67 years old. i consolidated all of my debt when i retired so that i could have all my ducks in a row. what i found is now, today, my interest rate on my mortgage is like 7.5% because i done it eight years ago.
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today i try to refinance because the interest rates are low, and my bank is telling me now that i owe more than my property is worth. so in order for me -- there's no way that i can even get the local banks to even get interested in refinancing my property. they won't even do it. they won't even talk to me about it. i know a lot of people around me that are in the same boat. here i am 67 years old, and i'm paying a high interest rate on my property that the value is no longer as high -- i can't get it appraised. in other words, i owe more money than what the property is worth. guest: that's right. so you're under water. right? this is the crux of the problem here. in your case, your 7.5% loan is probably owned by some investor or some group of investors
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somewhere. you're still paying on your loan. they have no incentive to write down the principle on your loan. they have no incentive to lower your interest rate. the bank that services your loan, you know, the bank that sends you your bills every month and collects your checks every month, sends you your late notices every month, they get paid, you know, for servicing you. they get paid more if you're delinquent on your loan. say if they have to come after you for money. they have no incentive to reduce your principle or your interest. so the only person who wants to reduce your principle and your interest is you. so this is the type of force that you're up against. and the obama administration is up against as well. we have programs in place to try to help people like you. but because of the banks and the investors, those programs are having a hard time getting
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traction. host: let's go to our next caller. we have in vienna, virginia, gary, democrats' line. guest: hi, gary. caller: good morning. i have a situation where we got a 15-year loan a few years ago with a bank. i'll just say w. i won't say anything further. it was never sold, traded, or moved or reassigned. i started getting calls in the middle of this year. and they sounded like call us up, we'll help you out. and i called them up. it was my mortgagor saying they were helping me get my loans squared away. when i asked them about the status, my loan, in the middle of 2010, was paid until 2011. so well in good standing, well paid ahead, yet for months i would get as many as six calls a
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week and several letters a month. and when i would call or follow-up, everybody would say i have no idea why you're calling. so i found out who the executive was who was responsible for mortgage lending, and i wrote a letter to his office outlining the facts of the situation. a representative from that office called me up and said we don't have any idea why you're getting these calls. and just ignore them. and so i followed up with a letter outlining how since this had my credit rating at risk, i was going to be severe in my reaction if something wasn't done. and i never got any reaction from that. the calls did stop. since then i've had my loan refinanced away from that company who i'll just call w, a big, national company who was the originator.
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so no movement of the mortgage, no reassigning of the mortgage, nothing out of pattern. no lateness. no delinquency. yet i was getting calls asking me about fixing my situation. host: let's get a response. this is very interesting. it sounds like the problem you ran into is with the servicer. the servicer may own your loan, as you said. it hadn't been assigned. but up until a couple of years ago the servicer's job was to send you a bill and collect your check, take their cut and send the rest off to the investors or wherever.
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has gotten caught up in their inability to handle this flood of problems. host: one of our colleagues on bloomberg, it was reported, computer stamping, mortgage documents. you talk about how the signing works. you said that nationwide title clearing, ink,
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host: a legal aid attorney says the problem with that is that if a computer is used it's because an enterprise has decided to use a computer to create a system where nobody is responsible for the information and the decisions and she's representing a client who is facing foreclosures. so this gets to what you were talking about. who's accountable? guest: exactly. the system has got son big. and this goes back to securitization. the reason that everyone a few years ago was able to get cheap loans and more and more people qualified for loans wasn't quite because there was more money coming into the system. and that money came from big investors who bought mortgage-backed securities. so whether that was a good idea or not, you know, we'll find out. but this system created more and more paperwork, more and
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more volume that the infrastructure just hasn't been able to deal with. caller: thank you for being on show the and being able to answer our questions. i'm representing a client and their lender is b.m.a. i have taken over her case -- i started in april, and since then i've been able to work with b.m.a. somewhat. before she was not getting any kind of response and she was calling them, seasoning them all the paperwork they required, they would misplace them, they would do all kinds of things. and she wasn't getting anywhere. in the meantime they had sent her a trial period for three
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months. after the three months, supposedly, three months, they gave her a loan payment. after the three months all of a sudden they started sending her collection letters, they started sending her -- they even sent her a letter for foreclosure on her property which wasn't even in her mind. she never thought they would do that. after like eight months. and they kept saying to just forget the foreclosure letter, they kept saying all that. in the meantime -- host: what really happened? caller: what came out of it was that now after i got in touch with the president of the bank and i got an advocate speaking for her, which is over at the bank of america -- host: we're running close on time. could you get to what happened? caller: right. what happened was now they're saying that they're going to take us out of their original -- what is it?
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their own procedure for the loan and put it back on making home affordable. my question is, is making home affordable a better option than just continuing with young lady that was referred to me by the president? i think it's the last person you speak to when you're turned down. host: i can't answer your question specifically. guest: but any loan modification is probably better than what she's dealing with now. making moment home afford softball a government program that's been out there for a couple of years. it's helped about half a million homeowners. you know, it's a problem, there's this area that you just laid out with one that lawmakers and the senate banking committee yesterday repeated over and over again. problems with lost paperwork, the banks saying one thing and doing another thing. the banks making mistakes. and the banks admit that they
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have been having problems and they have not gotten it right yet. and bank of america yesterday said she regretted these problems and they were doing what they could to fix them. host: "the washington post" top story today, finding work for victims of foreclosure. attorneys general and the country's biggest lenders are negotiating to create a nationwide fund to compensate borrowers who can prove they lost their home in an improper foreclosure. it would aide state investigators in their effort to seek relief for homeowners who were wronged. was this talked about at all on the panel yesterday? and is there any discussion in congress about how they feel about this? guest: tom miller, the iowa state attorney general, is leading the cause, leading the investigation with foreclose yours.
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this was brought up. miller did meet with some federal regulators while he was in town yesterday. he said that a deal is months away. he wants to make sure that he does it right. he doesn't want to just say here's the fund to payout victims and everything's fine. he wants to fix the system, fix some of these problems that your callers have been raising. host: brent, democrat in seattle. welcome. caller: good morning. host: good morning. you're on with lorraine woellert from bloomberg. caller: great. basically i would like to make this quick comment and -- bankers and financers are pretty much overwhelmingly caw caution -- caucasian, male republican. regarding action of the building, buildings being a durable good, we need to bring back the home prices. i always look at the basic economic standpoint of perhaps if we provide a dividend of 25%
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for demolition of deed-held properties aged 60 years or plus with a restriction not to build on that -- for the homeowner not to build on that land. it's almost like cash for clunkers. and what they do in japan for old cars. you can't have cars in japan that are over 25 years on the road. so get rid of, you know, people that have owned their properties outright, the government just needs to maybe pay them 25%. we got to get rid of this surplus. it's just too much old buildings. that would bring up the home prices. host: let's get a response. guest: some of the money that the federal government has been giving to states has been used to experiment with novel ideas, sort of like the one you're raising. and some states have, in fact -- are in fact, considering ideas like this. i think michigan might be talking about something like
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this. so the states are really where this type of experiment is going to happen. host: moving on to fort lauderdale, florida. george, independent line. good morning. caller: good morning, ladies. host: hi. caller: all i heard during the beginning of tarp, all of >> we leave this program now to go to the house that is returning now. they're expected to take up the president's veto of an interstate notarization bill and vote on other bills debated earlier. this is live coverage on c-span. court to recognize any notarization made by a notary public licensed by a state other than the state other than the court was located when such notarization occurs or affects interstate commerce. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house on reconsideration pass the bill, the objections of the president to the contrary notwithstanding. pursuant to the order of the house today, the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, and the gentleman from texas, mr. smith, will each control five
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minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker and my colleagues, i will urge the house to vote no so as to abstain the president's veto. i'd like to explain why it's important that we're taking this vote. you see, this bill has passed the house under suspension in each of the last three congresses. been brought forward by our colleague, mr. aderholt, each time. it requires courts to recognize duly performed out-of-state notarizations. as it was passing the senate, reports began to surface regarding improper and probably
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fraudulent documentation in foreclosure actions across the country. improperly formed notarizations were reportedly a major factor in circumventing the legal protections afforded to citizens in foreclosure. notarization in the absence of the person signing the document or without the person's signature or sometimes even forge notary signatures. and so we're taking a fresh look at the notarization bill. there were concerns that it could have unintended effect of facilitating improprieties and mortgage foreclosures and in other transactions, financial transactions as well. the state could remove important protections from its notarization rule and then the bill would effectively force
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the other states to go along. so the president took the responsible course in refusing to sign the bill so we can give it a careful and fresh examination in the light of these concerns. and so, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: mr. speaker, criticism of h.r. 3808 focuses on its potential application to the ongoing crisis in the foreclosure markets. these accounts have detailed stories of fraudulent activity involving afts used to rid banks. but this situation does not involve h.r. 3808. the bill applies only to, quote, any lawful notarization made by a licensed notary public, end quote.
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there is nothing in its lang twhadge contains the fraudulent act of notarization. the bill advances the legitimate purposes of the interstate commerce clause by ensuring that a lawfully document from one state will be acknowledged by another state in an intertate legal proceeding. the court subcommittee committed a hearing on this issue four years ago and learned of instance in which states rejected otherwise lawfully notized documents for petty reasons from other states. for example, state a requires a noterized document to bear an ink stamp. while state b requires a raised embossed seal. they should be mutually recognized. mr. speaker, the legislative history of the bill and the text itself has nothing to do with fraudulent notarizations. we should overright the -- override the veto and support the legitimate purpose of h.r. 3808. mr. speaker, i'll reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves.
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the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: thank you, mr. speaker. i would like to just respond to my dear friend, the ranking member of the judiciary committee, by saying that what we're trying to do here is prevent the possibility of sloppy or inaccurate or fraudulent notarizations from creeping into the foreclosure process. as we all know, many of the foreclosures have now found to be legally defective because of many things possibly including improper notarizations. and with millions of people losing their homes, it would
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really be almost neglect for us to -- negligent for us to assume that the notarizations coming from another state which might be electronic or fraudulent for all we know and i think caution is the better choice for the matter that's under discussion. and so i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: i yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from alabama, mr. aderholt, who is the sponsor of this legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from alabama is recognized for the remainder of your time. mr. aderholt: thank you, mr. speaker. and i want to thank you for the opportunity to address the house on this important matter. i think today there's been -- and over the last several of weeks there's been broad misunderstanding of the interstate recognition and notarizations act. which led to the president's unfortunate veto of this legislation back a few weeks
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ago. there is absolutely no connection whatsoever between interstate recognition of notarizations act of 2010 and the recent foreclosure documentation problems. i first introduced this legislation well back in april of 2005 and obviously there was no concern about weakening the foreclosure documentation process at that time. this is a bill that would help people and i'm disappointed that the legislation has been vetoed. this legislation that introduced would improve interstate commerce by requiring the documents to be recognized in any state or federal court. it would help court reporters, it would help attorneys, business owners and consumers in general. i've heard from many individuals who have been affected by this particular issue. for example, a construction company located in one state submits a contract for a job in another state and is turned down
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because the second state refuses to recognize the noterized contract. this is not an isolated problem. this is interfering with intertate commerce and it should be addressed. h.r. 3808, this legislation, expressly requires lawful notarizations be recognized in other states and in no way validates improper notarizations. let me stress that again. in no way validates improper notarizations. fraudulent notarizations are illegal. enforcement of notarizations is a state responsibility and i fully support each state's attorney general to vigorously prosecute all fraudulent notarizations. currently each state is responsible for regulating its notaries. typically someone who wishes to become a notary pays a fee, they'll submit an application, they'll take an oath of office. some states require applicants to enroll in educational course, pass an exam or obtain a notary
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bond. this legislation does not change how an individual state regulates notaries in any form or fashion. this bill had strong bipartisan support in the house of representatives each of the three times it passed the house of representatives and most recently with unanimous support as recently as april of this year. i hope the white house will work with the congress so this legislation can eventually become law. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'd like to close by expressing my surprise at the author of this bill who apparently hasn't heard about the fraud, the misrepresentations, the swindling of people whose mortgages have led to foreclosure, and then we find
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out that the instruments that were brought into court didn't even know who the owner was. much less know who noterized it. and so i would caution my colleagues to -- let's be a little bit more careful here. a million people are losing their homes, sir. and you're telling me that we've got to make -- we're going to except a notary -- a notarization from anywhere, coming from any state because you introduced this before this problem began? i say no. we don't even -- we can't even find out who the owners were after these instruments get chopped up and resold and moved
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in the financial scheme of things. mr. aderholt: would the gentleman yield? mr. conyers: absolutely not. there's nothing to talk about. we don't want anybody running the risk of accepting an out-of-state notarization because you've introduced a bill before this problem began. and now that it's begun, let's be careful. let's be certain that we're protecting everybody that's being foreclosed on and that's my major concern. how much time remains? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. all time for debate has expired. the question is will the house on reconsideration pass the bill, the objection of the president to the contrary notwithstanding. in accordance with the constitution, the yeas and nays are ordered.
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pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition? mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i send to the desk a privileged concurrent resolution and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the concurrent resolution. the clerk: house concurrent resolution 332. resolved that when the house adjourns on the legislative day of thursday, november 18, 2010, or friday, november 19, 2010, on a motion also pursuant to this concurrent resolution by its majority leader or his designee, it stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on monday, november 29, 2010, or until the time of any reassembly pursuant to section 2 of this concurrent resolution, whichever occurs first. and that when the senate recesses or adjourns on any day from thursday, november 18, 2010, through sunday, november 21, 2010, on a motion also
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pursuant to this concurrent resolution by its majority leader or his designee, it stand recessed or adjourned until noon on monday, november 29, 2010, or such other time on that day as maybe specified in the motion to recess or adjourn or until the time of any reassembly pursuant to section 2 of this concurrent resolution, whichever occurs first. two, the speaker of the house and the majority leader of the senate or their respective designees acting jointly with the minority leader of the house and the minority leader of the senate shall notify the members of the house and senate respectively to reassemble at such place and time as they may designate if in their opinion the public opinion shall warrant it. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the concurrent resolution. all those in favor signify by saying aye. all those opposed say no.
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the ayes have it. the concurrent resolution -- >> mr. speaker. i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic de. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, this 15-minute vote on house concurrent resolution 332 will be followed by five-minute votes on passing h.r. 3808, the objection of the president to the contrary notwithstanding and motions to suspend the rules with regard to h.r. 5758
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